Substance Abuse Treatment in NYC: What You Need to Know

Substance abuse treatment can help you or a loved one overcome the difficult struggle with drugs or alcohol. The pain and suffering for the individual battling urges can be extreme, and it typically affects all of the loved ones around them. There can be emotional pain, physical health risks, psychological pain, and many other mental health, work, and social problems. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to treat substance and alcohol misuse to help you or your loved one discover healthy ways to cope with urges, cravings, negative emotions, and tough situations. CBT for substance abuse is conducted with a CBT therapist, but can help you learn and practice the skills you will need to use in your life outside of the therapy room to reduce suffering, dependence on drugs and alcohol, to improve your relationships, and build a meaningful, satisfying life that includes healthy behaviors, relationships, and joy.

For more info and inquiries:

What is Substance Abuse Treatment? 

Substance abuse treatment involves someone struggling with drug misuse engaging in meetings, individual therapy sessions, couples therapy, family therapy, or pharmacological intervention. It could require detoxification first depending on the situation.

Substance abuse or drug misuse treatment is frequently done in an outpatient setting. That could mean sitting in a psychologist’s private office or a larger organization’s facility that runs an intensive outpatient treatment program. Substance abuse treatment can also include residential or inpatient treatment programs that are conducted in rehabilitation centers or hospitals.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

New York City is plagued by drug misuse or substance abuse. While alcohol is used and abused in New York more than any other drugs of abuse, prescription drugs and illicit drugs are wreaking havoc.

Recent data indicate just a few years ago opioid treatment programs accounted for 38 percent of New York State’s enrollment in drug dependence programs. A few years before that New York had already seen a 31% increase in opioid prescriptions. And Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are incredibly prevalent.

Cocaine of course still finds its way into many New Yorkers lives. And even though laws have changed there are still a substantial number of people who depend on marijuana in ways that interfere with their ability to be as productive and satisfied with their lives. Substance abuse is a significant concern for the nation and New York is not immune.

Substance abuse can at worst lead to death quickly. But even without an overdose, intense or extended use of any of these drugs takes a toll on one’s body and can lead to many medical problems and other physical disabilities, or just poor overall health. Substance abuse is also associated with poor interpersonal relationships, poor work performance, and can lead to financial and legal problems.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

Ways to Treat Substance Abuse in NYC

There are many different approaches to substance abuse or drug misuse treatment. Fortunately, in New York City all of the options are available.

12 Step Programs, Behavioral, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Psychopharmacological approaches are all common substance abuse treatment strategies.

These can be delivered in professionally led meetings or member led meetings. They can take place in individual psychotherapy sessions, couples therapy, or even family therapy sessions.

Group therapy is also very common in substance abuse treatment and could take place in an intensive outpatient program, at a hospital, or in a drug rehab.

Psychopharmacological treatments are also used to help those struggling with substance misuse and many of the emotional and psychological problems that may accompany the substance abuse.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment


12-Step Meetings and Treatment

12-step drug treatment comes from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and has been adapted to all kinds of drug treatment. It ascribes to the disease model of substance misuse, viewing the drug misuse as a disease, which can never be cured and likewise the “addict” will always be an addict.

It is an abstinence based program with 12 steps designed to help those suffering abstain from their drug of choice, recover after relapses, and live more satisfying lives.

The program advocates for regular meeting attendance and connecting with others going through the program. In treatment centers, 12-Step based group meetings may be led by professionals, such as social workers, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists. But typical 12-Step meetings are run by members of the meetings.

The steps include taking inventory, making amends, acknowledging a higher power’s role in recovery, accepting one’s helplessness, etc.

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)

SMART is a cognitive behaviorally based drug treatment approach that may be an alternative for some people whose values or religious beliefs are not congruent with the traditional 12-Step model.

Like AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) SMART is an abstinence based program, which is conducted in group settings, and can be led by a professional facilitator or a group member. It differs from 12-Step programs in that it does not reference a higher power or the disease model. It aims to help members by teaching and having them practice skills to cope with urges, manage relationships, develop healthy lifestyle habits, manage emotions, and maintain motivation to abstain.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT is an approach that is utilized by SMART (as explained above). It can be delivered as individual CBT therapy with the person suffering with drug misuse. It can also be provided to couples and families as couples therapy or family therapy.

In all of these formats Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) provides an explanation for how stressful situations, emotions, relationships, cravings, thoughts, cravings, and urges all put us at risk for drug use when we are not prepared or equipped with adequate coping skills. It presents a model for how triggers, thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behaviors all interact in ways that can make it easier or more difficult to choose to refrain from using a drug or to abuse the same drug.

Clients and others participating in drug treatment with them learn to become more aware of the situations that put them at risk, how to assess their thoughts and feelings, effectively communicate with others, improve their lifestyle habits, change or accept their emotions, clarify their values, set goals, increase their problem solving skills, and build stronger, more supportive relationships.

For more info and inquiries:

Pharmacological Treatment

While it may seem ironic to use drugs to treat a drug problem, there are many drugs that have been designed to help those struggling with substance abuse problems.

Some prescribed drugs utilized in substance abuse treatment may treat comorbid conditions that put someone with a substance misuse issue at risk, for example the drug may be an antidepressant or anti-anxiety agent.

Depressive symptoms, anxiety, anger, and many other emotional experiences can put someone suffering with drug misuse at greater risk, so reducing those emotional episodes can help. There are also other kinds of drugs that are aimed at reducing cravings and urges.

A psychopharmacologist/psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse treatment is an appropriate professional to consult about receiving treatment.

How Much is Substance Abuse Treatment in NYC

New York City services typically cost more than they do in other areas of the country. Substance abuse treatment for those seeking out of pocket services, i.e., seeing professionals or going to rehab centers that do not take in-network insurance can be very expensive.

The costs vary greatly though, so it is worth contacting the psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, mental health counselor, intensive outpatient program, or rehab center in order to determine the cost.

New York City also has a wide range of services that are government funded and may be free or very low-cost, so it is important to find substance abuse treatment that is not only effective, but that is affordable. The last thing anyone wants is to begin to have success working with a professional or attending a program that they can suddenly no longer afford.

Intake appointments with psychiatrists can be $1,500 and rehab centers could cost $60,000 for 28 days, but there are also psychiatrists and rehab centers that take insurance, and would just require a co-pay. So it is important to utilize your own insurance company if you need to do that or contact New York City’s 311 to ask for available substance abuse treatment funded by NYC near you.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

Which Substance Abuse Treatment is Best

For clients who have adequate or exceptional cognitive abilities and who may need help learning how to manage and express their emotions, effectively communicate to improve relationships, and improve their problem solving skills; Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) may be a very good choice for substance abuse treatment.

There is evidence that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is effective as a substance abuse treatment as individual psychotherapy, couples therapy, and family therapy. And CBT is also the basis of SMART.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

Advantage of Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Treating Substance Abuse

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is flexible in that it can be delivered in different formats, ranging from self-help, individual, couples, family, and group therapy. Some people struggling with substance misuse may not want to go through treatment alone, and may prefer couples, family, or group settings. And there are also many who don’t want to be in the same room with family members, especially when discussing issues related to their substance misuse.

It is critical that clients advocate for the kind of therapy that they believe will be most helpful. It also makes sense, once they find a great therapist they can trust, to continue to assess if other forms of therapy can be added, e.g., adding group therapy to individual therapy when it could be helpful, or even transitioning from individual to group.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

What Happens in CBT Treatment of Substance Abuse 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of substance abuse teaches clients how to become aware of high risk situations, how to cope with drug cravings, how to navigate challenging social pressure, how to build healthy supportive relationships, how to challenge and defuse from worries, self-critical thoughts, and other self-defeating thoughts, how to manage anger, anxiety, and stress, how to clarify your values and establish goals goal and healthy habits, how to cope with depressive symptoms, loneliness, shame, and embarrassment.

A CBT therapist will also help to build and maintain motivation, positively reinforce healthy behaviors, even the small ones, analyze what cues and reinforces the behaviors that are working and not working, and develop coping strategies to deal with all kinds of situations including high risk social situations, intense emotional episodes, times when cravings are particularly high, moments when one’s thoughts are overwhelming, and times when relapse occurs. An emphasis on careful attention to making good decisions, while forgiving, accepting, and even cultivating self-compassion can be done in CBT.

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment

How to Find Substance Abuse Treatment in NYC

Drug misuse is a serious problem. Of course depending on the person, the severity of the current use, coping skills, level of support, and other potential comorbid diagnoses the best treatment plan and team will vary.

So it is critical that anyone with a substance abuse problem is appropriately assessed in order to determine what services would be best, e.g., is detox necessary?

The first step then is to contact a mental or behavioral health professional and ask to have an initial assessment done. It is understandable that many of us may have concerns about who we make aware of our or a loved ones drug misuse. But, if you are willing to ask people you know for help in finding the right professional, here are some places to start.

Friends and family members can be good resources if they or someone they are close to has had a positive experience with a substance abuse treatment provider, you can use the same person. Having someone you know and trust recommend someone is a very good place to start. The process is already scary and having that kind of a recommendation can be reassuring.

Another resource could be other professional health care providers you already utilize. You can ask your internist if he or she can recommend someone.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) at your work are also a good starting point. Finding people professional help for substance misuse is what they are designed to do. And they should be set up to follow procedures that protect an employee’s rights.

Your insurance company can also provide you with a list of providers. And the advantage of using them as a resource is that the substance abuse treatment options they provide should be covered by your plan, so this is likely the most affordable route to pursue.

Once you have identified the right provider, please don’t waste any time. The sooner the initial assessment is done, proper diagnosis and a recommendation for treatment can begin.

If you have questions about treatment or want to schedule an initial assessment session, please feel to reach out to us as well. We have a number of psychologists, social workers, and mental health counselors who can assess and treat substance abuse issues and also recommend psychopharmacologists that might be able to help you.

Please call our offices at (646) 693-3760 or message us at

Contact me here if you have any question about Substance Abuse Treatment