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What is an Addiction Psychiatrist?

An addiction psychiatrist is one of the many professionals that will help you during recovery. Addiction is powerful and can be very difficult to break depending on the substance involved. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction, as a disease, causes a great effect on the reward, memory, and motivation function of the brain.

As a result, addiction recovery and treatment can be tricky. In fact, most addicts claim they aren’t suffering from the disease. You should know that without the first step of acknowledging the disease, recovery is a far-off goal.

Hence, it’s safe to say you are on this page because you recognize your addiction. You have successfully navigated the first step to addiction recovery. Now, you are wondering if you need an addiction psychiatrist.

To answer your query, we will explore the benefits of seeing an addiction psychiatrist. We will also guide you on how to choose the best addiction psychiatrist. However, given the statement we made at the start of this blog, we will first take a look at how to recognize if you are an addict.

How To Be Sure You Need an Addiction Psychiatrist: Am I Addicted?

When you are suffering from an addiction, you begin to crave a particular substance or a habit. James Clear in his book, “Atomic Habits,” explains, in detail, the science of craving and habit. These actions are deeply rooted in the brain, and they result from the repetitive use of a particular substance.

These controlled substances are those that cause a release of dopamine in your brain, per time. It is this release of dopamine that leads to addiction. Your body starts to crave more dopamine that comes with the use of the substance.

However, being addicted is one thing, but recognizing and acknowledging addiction is another. You won’t know you need an addiction psychiatrist if you can’t recognize addiction. Here are signs that point to addiction.

Lack of Self-Control

Nothing says you are addicted better than you not being able to stay away from the substance at will. When addiction sets in, you feel a compulsive urge to indulge the substance or habit.

This is characterized by a feeling of restlessness when you can’t use the substance. At this point, self-control goes out the window. Regardless of the situation, you’ll find a way to use the drug.

Reduced social life

Another way to know you are addicted is that you start to abandon your social commitments. You don’t want to be with anyone – just you and the substance.

Or in many cases, you start to base your social experiences around the substance. More often than not, recovering from this symptom is possible with the help of an addiction psychiatrist.

Ignoring risks associated with using

This is another pointer to addiction. For instance, if you inject substances (drugs), you know it’s risky to share needles but you go ahead with a used one anyways because you can’t find a new one. In the presence of addiction, you know you are putting yourself at risk with your course of action, but you still go ahead with it.

Withdrawal Symptoms

You have probably tried to stop using the substance in the past. However, with addiction, this attempt to stop comes with feelings of panic and anxiety. Different substances have their respective withdrawal symptoms. Typically, they range from nausea to dizziness and psychological symptoms.

Once you notice any or all of these signs, that’s when to see an addiction psychiatrist. You don’t need further confirmation from anyone. Starting the recovery process before it gets worse is best for your health.

Who is an Addiction Psychiatrist?

Just as the name implies, addiction psychiatrists are specialists that carry out the diagnosis and treatment of drug abuse. In addition to drug abuse, they also deal with the accompanying mental health issues.

These specialists cater to persons of all ages. Once you involve yourself in drugs, alcohol, or prescription meds abuse, they are the people to go to. It becomes even imperative to visit these specialists when you suffer from coexisting mental health issues. Mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can complicate your addiction.

You cannot overestimate the role these specialists play during addiction recovery treatment. Addiction psychiatrists are involved in the following:

  • The evaluation of your medical history, your substance-use history, and your mental condition
  •  Diagnosis of psychiatric diseases like dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and eating disorders.
  • They examine your ability to go about daily activities.
  •  They oversee the execution of laboratory tests on you if needed
  • They provide you with therapy. Though in most cases, they refer you to a dedicated facility.
  • They can also prescribe medication for you
  • They carry out the detoxification process
  • They help you reach the best medical team to oversee your treatment

Essentially, your recovery journey should begin with an addiction psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist helping girl

Why Should You Visit an Addiction Psychiatrist?

You may know who an addiction psychiatrist is, but not see any reason to pay a visit. This is possible especially if you tell yourself that you can overcome addiction alone.

While it’s possible to overcome addiction alone, the probability of success is very low. Hence, if you can’t see a reason to get help from an addiction psychiatrist, here are some:


If you are finding it hard to figure out if you are addicted or not, getting help can unravel the mystery. When you get help, this allows for a new perspective. With a professional addiction psychiatrist, you can better identify symptoms.

They are professionals who have worked with several people that used to be like you. As such, they can help you highlight the symptoms of addiction and create a plan to treat it


There is no better way to cope with your addiction than by understanding it and leveraging proven strategies. As a non-professional, you can’t understand how to cope on your own. Reading this article and others online also won’t do perfect justice to the issue. This article and more can only give you general pointers and tips.

An addiction psychiatrist will understand your needs on a personal level and make prescriptions and recommendations based on that. Addiction is personal, hence, the road to recovery also needs to be a personal journey.


In a world where everyone is somewhat busy, you need all the support you can get. Leveraging the support of a professional dedicated to your recovery can cause the positive shift you need. Hence, when next you wonder about the advantages of talking to an addiction psychiatrist, think of support.

Related Article: Drug Detox Centres Cost in Ontario

What does Addiction Psychiatry Treatment Entail?

The very first thing you need in addiction psychiatry treatment is positivity. You have to go through that door to the specialist with all the optimism you can muster.

Without a belief that the specialist can help, you’ll keep going back to your addiction. Once you get your mindset fixed, what should you expect in your sessions with an addiction psychiatrist?

Be ready to open up

An addiction psychiatrist can only help when you say all there is about the issue. Without opening up, it’ll be hard for the specialist to treat you effectively.

Everyone is unique, which holds, as well, for treatment. People respond to treatment differently. The psychiatrist understands this and will appreciate it if you are vulnerable. You simply need to trust the specialist and the knowledge they will leverage to help you.

They use medicine to treat patients

Addiction specialists can make prescriptions based on their diagnosis of the issue. These medications will help you manage withdrawal symptoms and detoxification effectively.

They leverage psychotherapy

Because some people respond better to therapies that involve talking, many addiction psychiatrists leverage this. A specialist can use cognitive behavioural therapy to modify addiction triggers and behaviours that encourage abuse.

They can sometimes refer you to an outside facility

The degree of your addiction determines the course of treatment an addiction psychiatrist will recommend for you. If the addiction is chronic, you may be referred to an inpatient facility. However, if it’s not, you can take the outpatient sessions.

Beyond rehabs, they can also recommend you to support groups and communities. For instance, alcoholics can be recommended for Alcoholics Anonymous. The journey to addiction recovery is a long and arduous one and there is no better person to lead you than a psychiatrist.

Addiction psychiatrists are patient with you

These specialists can be everything for you. Most importantly, they are always very patient with you. This patience is needed especially in situations of relapse. Relapses are common, especially when you don’t know what your triggers are.

Addiction psychiatrists are always there to listen to you, till they can help you figure things out completely. Hence, make sure you are completely open with your specialist.

There are cues you may not see as being causative of your cravings. However, a psychiatrist can help you identify them. This is one major reason why addiction psychiatry is important. It helps shine a light on the true cause of the addiction.

Addiction Psychiatrist group

Cost of Addiction Psychiatry

Addiction not only takes a toll on you, but it also affects your family and friends. Hence, when you get the help you are not only doing yourself a favour, you are helping your family. According to a Health Services Research publication, for every $1000 you spend on addiction treatment, you get to save about $11,000 that you will have been wasted.

The cost of addiction psychiatry you incur is dependent on your needs. And there is no way to figure out your needs without first consulting with the specialist. Hence, the first step to take is to find out about different specialists and their consultation fees.

During that first consultation, you get to figure out what treatment journey you need and how much it will cost. Whatever this may amount to at the end of the session, it’s always bound to be cheaper than an addiction will cost you within the treatment period.

Every addiction recovery journey starts with detoxification. If you are, however, going to be an inpatient, you don’t pay separately. As an outpatient, you can expect to pay between $3,500 and $5500. Conversely, inpatient rehab can cost between $12000 and $80000, depending on the facilities. After inpatient treatment, you’ll need to visit a sober living home that can cost between $450 and $10000 per month.

During your session with the psychiatrist, if your treatment requires cognitive behavioural therapy, it comes at about $100 per hour. If you are involved in group therapy, it costs between $35 and $80.

Family therapy sessions with a psychiatrist can cost between $75 and $200 per hour. Drug therapy can also be as high as $1000 per month.

How to Choose the Best Addiction Psychiatrist

After deciding to get help, the next step is to choose the best addiction psychiatrist. As with every other illness, it’s important to find the best specialist. And here, price is not an indicator of quality.

In light of that, here are the things you should look out for to pick the best addiction psychiatrist in Toronto.


You should do all you can to see if an addiction psychiatrist has the expertise to provide you with the help you need. Start by confirming their associate degree. Another option is to make sure your choice of addiction psychiatrist has the license to practice in Toronto.

Get reviews and recommendations

The best way to determine if an addiction therapist is any good is to ask past patients. There is no standard to measure their expertise, but you should find out as much as you can about the specialist. You can also check for reviews online

Check listing websites

Another way to know if a specialist is the real deal is by checking listing websites. Though these shouldn’t be your only standard, it’s a good place to start.

Hold a conversation with your candidates

When you have a list of addiction psychiatrists you are considering, it’s best to have a phone call with them. You should converse with each psychiatrist to find that person you feel comfortable with.

The ideal addiction psychiatrist should give you a feeling of confidence. You may not be able to explain the bond, but you’ll feel it when you find the one.

Related Article: Amphetamine Addiction Rehab: How Individual Counselling Helps In Recovery

Final Take

This article has been able to answer your question of what and who addiction psychiatrists do treat. These specialists are important to your addiction recovery.

No matter how demanding they may be, it’s best to go through therapy sessions with an addiction psychiatrist. They are more than likely the person you need for a paradigm shift in your life.

Are you looking for an addiction treatment program that includes sessions with an addiction psychiatrist? Addiction Rehab Toronto offers a comprehensive treatment program that accounts for your physical as well as mental health. Contact us today!