Drug Dependence / Abuse / Addiction

Drug addiction, dependence or abuse, sometimes called substance use disorder, is a disease. It affects an individual's brain and behavior, making it so they are unable to control their use of the drug in question. Symptoms of drug dependence include needing more of the drug to get the same effect over time, intense urges for the drug to the point of not being able to concentrate on anything else, spending money that you can't afford on the drug, not fulfilling obligations (work, familial or social) because of drug use, and/or failing in attempts to stop or reduce use of the drug. If you are worried that a loved one may be struggling with drug abuse, some possible indicators include a drop in school or work performance or attendance, a lack of interest in their appearance, increased secretiveness, and/or sudden requests for money. A qualified professional therapist will be able to identify and diagnose drug issues, provide harm reduction support, work with you to create a treatment plan and help you stick to it. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s drug dependence, abuse and addiction specialists for help today.

Meet the specialists


My extensive experience and training in addiction therapy has helped hundreds in every stage of substance abuse, from those questioning their consumption to others first few days of sobriety, and those with long-term sobriety. I am knowledgeable on 12-step programs; though also support clients wanting to create their own recovery. I deeply believe in the life changing process of therapy done well. Let me help you make the changes you are interested in.

— Steven Reigns, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Substance Abuse in all its forms is a disease, not a "sin" or weakness of character. When I work with people who want to recover, my focus is on the whole person. Use of drugs is a part of the fuller picture, just as with any other concern people bring to someone like me. While I encourage complete abstinence, I do not require it. If you come to me for help, I will tell you why I believe it makes sense.

— John Eichenberger, Counselor in Fairport, NY

"What am I needing right now that I'm not getting?' This question is a powerful one to explore when an individual is hoping to navigate underlying issues around substance use. I have developed a compassion-focused substance use program, and have worked at multiple treatment facilities, which have given me important insights and expertise in treating addiction.

— Morgan Grace, Psychotherapist in Austin, TX

I have worked in inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment centers throughout my career as a therapist.

— Crystal Nesfied, Counselor in Scottsdale, AZ

Not everyone is open to full abstinence and the 12-Step modality; which is why I work from both a total abstinence modality and harm-reduction. Over the years, I realized that when treating addiction, it is important to consider the client’s prospective on how to approach their addiction, and to allow the client to decide what is the best course of treatment for them. This will assist the client to feel empowered and have a choice, and options, in their recovery.

— Filippo M. Forni, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

I am a certified alcohol and other drug counselor (CADC). I believe in a holistic and individualized approach to treating addiction. I am a certified Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR) Leader.

— Traci Patterson, Therapist in Chicago, IL

I have over 10 years of experience working with substance use concerns that span the spectrum from addiction to simply wanting to cut back and moderate use. I take a nonjudgmental stance, and I can provide you with recommendations about whether abstinence versus a harm reduction approach would be most beneficial for you.

— Kate Czar, Psychologist in Austin, TX

Like any therapy, art therapy provides an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in a space that promotes trust and safety. An essential component in therapy is your relationship with the therapist. Therapy requires vulnerability and the trust you develop with your therapist will help you feel safe.

— Amanda Shaw, Art Therapist in Tamarac, FL

Sometimes when dealing with difficult emotions and situations we turn to coping skills that can quickly turn into unhealthy habits. My approach with substance use is simple: we all have an opportunity to change when we are ready. I have found that when working with clients to overcome their substance use I work at your pace to challenge and understand what this coping skill serves you. Without judgement or discrimination I am here to walk that journey with you.

— Jessica Dirks, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

In addition to being a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), I am also a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). I have worked with individuals who have difficulties with substance use disorders for over 7 years.

— Stephanie Carlin, Licensed Professional Counselor in Fort Collins, CO

Substances can be used as a coping mechanism, but it isn't always healthy. I use a harm-reduction approach to help you reach your goals whether they are to get control of your use or complete sobriety.

— Stephanie Taylor, Mental Health Counselor in Belton, TX

Having years of experience with adolescents and adults struggling with substance abuse, I offer a unique perspective and approach. Often, the substances become a symptom of a larger issue. Together, we explore what is at the core of the substance use and begin to heal from the inside out.

— Rebekah Tchouta, Clinical Social Worker in Roawell, GA

I have assessed and counseled individuals with substance abuse disorders for many years and believe in a holistic approach that addresses a person's mental and physical health, living environment, employment situation, and family support. Fighting addiction is a long-term commitment and each situation is unique. In addition to being a nationally certified licensed professional counselor, I have earned an advanced alcohol and drug counseling certification that is recognized internationally.

— LATEISHA ELLIOTT, Licensed Professional Counselor in Huntsville, AL

I take an integrated approach so we learn more of the why we are the way we are. We all know we don't wake up one morning and decide to become addiction to substances; there are typically reasons behind why this happens and I work with you to figure out that why. Chances are you already know the skills to keep you sober but now you need to know the why should you stay sober.

— Brandi Schmidt, Therapist in Bismarck, ND

I developed a specialty in treating addiction and co-occurring mental disorders over 15 years at a variety of addiction treatment programs the Bay Area; most recently as Clinical Director of Avery Lane, an innovative women's treatment program in Novato, CA. As with all my clinical work, my approach to addiction is a holistic one, incorporating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of this issue. I've been part of developing The Conscious Recovery Method™ with my colleague TJ Woodward, an approach which moves beyond simply treating behaviors and symptoms. It focuses on the underlying root causes that drive destructive patterns, which include unresolved trauma, toxic shame, and spiritual disconnection. You can find out more about that work here: www.tjwoodward.com/consciousrecovery

— Adriana Popescu, Clinical Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

Addiction is a disease and healing is possible. I support individuals to develop a plan to achieve abstinence and sobriety, to manage emotional and physical health, and to prevent further self-medication and relapse. For five years I worked at a drug treatment center, primarily with opiate addiction where I helped individuals find their unique path to recovery. I provide a comfortable, non-judgmental setting to help you overcome your dependence on substances and addictive behaviors.

— Deborah Robinson-Thompson, Mental Health Counselor in Burlington, MA

I have a specialty in addiction treatment. I can help you free yourself of addictive and compulsive habits of behavior. I work on building a life worth living so that turning away from destructive habits becomes a more natural choice. In some cases abstinence is a necessary or desired outcome, in others we may work on a Harm Reduction model. I often recommend the Sinclair Method to engage clients with alcohol abuse issues who do not want to use a 12-step abstinence approach. I am here to serve your best Self.

— Melissa Owens, Counselor in Portland, OR

As a double board-certified psychiatrist, I specialize both in psychopharmacology and holistic approaches to general psychiatric and addictive disorders. Biological, psychological, social, and spiritual elements of wellness are uniquely addressed in collaboration with other providers.

— Stacy Cohen, MD, Psychiatrist in Santa Monica, CA

I am specializing in addictions through my master's program at Lewis & Clark. I do not think 12-step is for everyone, nor do I think abstinence is for everyone. My goal is to look at what your goals are and help you understand the barriers in achieving them.

— Jules Allison, Counselor in Portland, OR

Since 2012, I have worked within the field of addictions recovery. It’s my experience that those struggling with addiction - whether it’s to food, sex, alcohol, drugs or even work - all seek to escape, in one form or another, from pain, as addiction often correlates with trauma. It’s my goal to support those battling addictive behaviors to develop healthy coping mechanisms for difficult emotions, process underlying trauma, and reclaim joy.

— Monroe Spivey, Therapist in Asheville, NC