Dr. Mark Ackerman provides expert evaluation & treatment of addictive behavior including alcohol and drug abuse.
Addiction can be defined as persistent, compulsive use of habit-forming substances despite increasingly negative consequences. Addicts typically risk their health, families, careers and friendships as they pursue their drugs of choice. As physical addiction develops to alcohol and chemical substances and tolerance, dependence and cravings emerge, the euphoria or good feeling is reduced and most report that “pleasure” is replaced by “need” combined with a downward spiral in mood and impaired overall functioning. It is well-established that habitual use with addictive substances produces a re-wiring of the brain. However, this re-wiring can be reversed over time through abstinence and behavioral change. Addiction to alcohol, cannabis (marijuana), tobacco (nicotine), prescription pain killers (e.g. opiods such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone), stimulants/amphetamines (e.g. cocaine, Adderall) and sedatives/benzodiazepines (e.g.Valium, Klonopin) or tranquilizing (e.g. Xanax) and sedative-hypnotic (e.g. Ambien) agents has extensive negative consequences. There are now synthetic psychoactive compounds that can be obtained including cannabinoids (“Spice”), cathinones (“Bath Salts”) that are both addictive and dangerous and tend to be used more frequently by teens. At my office we are increasingly seeing individuals who request treatment for process addictions as well, including compulsive sexual behavior, gambling, binge eating, workaholism and cyber-addiction (technology, e.g. internet gaming). Professionals who understand addiction recognize that an addict cannot “cure themselves” through will power alone. At my practice a thorough evaluation followed by a tailored treatment plan can include the following components:
-developing a behavioral contract and making a commitment to recovery
-recognition and awareness of triggers including certain people and specific environments
-motivational interviewing which encourages change in thinking and behaving
-assessment and treatment of mood disorders that may contribute to addictive behavior
-stress awareness and stress management training since stress is a primary trigger for use
-coping skills training including cognitive reframing and emotion management
-encouragement and assistance with developing a healthy lifestyle, e.g. diet and exercise
-relapse prevention since the problem for any addict is not stopping but rather, maintaining sobriety
-support groups, sponsor and 12 steps will be highly encouraged and facilitated
-addiction treatment for LGBT
If it is determined that you require more intensive treatment I can assist you through my contacts with a number of high quality residential or intensive outpatient treatment recovery programs that I work closely with,including treatment programs designed specifically for professional individuals in the fields of health care (e.g. medicine), law and other specialties.
I am a licensed psychologist in the States of Georgia and Florida. My practice is located in the Brookhaven area of Atlanta, just off I-85 and North Druid Hills Road exit on Buford Highway. I have a great deal of training and expertise in evaluating and treating addiction. Please call or send an e-mail and we can work together to assist you in obtaining abstinence and full recovery.