Substance Abuse

Dr. Krakow is a highly qualified psychiatrist with years of experience in the treatment of addictive behavior. Addiction is a compulsive behavioral pattern in which a substance, object or activity has evolved into the predominant focus of an individual’s life, to the exclusion of almost all other concerns. By definition, the addicted individual has lost the ability to appropriately control their use of the substance, object or activity. This behavior inevitably results in devastating consequences, with destruction of their physical health, mental health, career and all the relationships with those they love. Substance abuse/addiction is a brain disorder that can be treated successfully.

His research and training in the field of addiction medicine has equipped Dr. Krakow with a full range of psychotherapeutic and psychiatric approaches. In 1996, he earned his specialty certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry and, after further training, from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for subspecialty certification in Addiction Psychiatry. He had previously received his Medical and Surgical Licenses from the State of New York and, shortly thereafter, was licensed by the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Controlled Substances. In addition, Dr. Krakow has special certification that allows him to treat patients with opioid dependence with Suboxone (bupenorphine).

Dr. Krakow incorporates a cognitive behavioral approach in a structured, goal-oriented treatment, focusing on immediate problems so that patients unlearn old habits associated with abuse, and learn—or relearn—healthier skills and habits. Dr. Krakow frequently finds that people with substance dependence have failed to learn effective strategies for coping with the challenges, problems and pressures of adulthood, especially when substance use has begun in adolescence.

Even if an individual had effective strategies at one time for dealing with stressors, these skills have probably deteriorated—through repeated reliance on substance use as a primary means of coping. Basically, these patients have forgotten these once-effective strategies because of chronic involvement in a drug or alcohol-using lifestyle in which much of their time has been spent in acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of the addictive substance.

Both substance abuse and addiction can be successfully treated, but the treatment process is much easier and much more likely to succeed if it is begun early on. Once Dr. Krakow has successfully led a patient through detoxification, treatment does not end there: there is considerable risk of relapse. Medications can be prescribed that block cravings and treat other issues that might instigate a return to abusive behavior patterns. Additionally, there are medications Dr. Krakow can prescribe for the adverse health effects of substance abuse, including seizures or psychotic symptoms, and for overdoses from opiates.

Dr. Krakow counsels his patients not to be disheartened if they suffer a relapse. In his experience, even individuals determined to "stay clean" often suffer one or more relapses before achieving long-term sobriety. While these are certainly setbacks, they do not mean that a person cannot recover from addiction. The individual may need to undergo a new cycle of treatment but the doctor assures his patients that long-term sobriety can be achieved.

To contact Dr. Krakow, email: or call 212.726.9810.