Substance Abuse

In the treatment of substance abuse, I see many patients with a wide range of presentations, including situations of personal crisis, family chaos, depression, anxiety, or an individual in a medical, legal or family situation. Patients are driven to treatment by hitting bottom, family intervention, problems at work or health problems. Sometimes people understand that they are sick, and they need and want to get better.

Addiction is a disease that can be diagnosed, evaluated and treated just like any other disease. It tends to be chronic and recurring, much like diabetes and asthma. I believe that addiction can be controlled and may be cured given the right set of circumstances. By a cure, I mean of life free of substance abuse and dependency.

Types of addiction include: alcohol, amphetamine, cocaine, gambling, hallucinogens, heroin, marijuana, opioids, pain killers, sex, the internet, video gaming, and other impulse control addictions. Specific addictions can interact or substitute for other addictions. The underlying root cause of your addiction should be investigated, understood, clarified and managed.

 Techniques I use include a thorough review of your presenting problem, any extenuating circumstances, medical problems, legal troubles and your available coping abilities. We’ll look at your physical health, mood disorders and family situation. We may invite some family members in to give their perspective on the cause, consequences and treatment of your addiction.

First things first. You have to stop your addictive behavior now. Our immediate goal is complete and total addiction abstinence. I’ll help you to stop now as safely as possible. You may need in-patient detoxification or in-patient treatment. Harm reduction may be discussed.

I have about 40 specific recommendations including: readings, education topics, homework assignments, resources and possibly medication. I prescribe many medications that may be helpful in addiction treatment, including: buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone), naltrexone (Revia), topiramate (Topamax), disulfiram (Antabuse), acamprosate (Campral), bupropion (Zyban) and other prescription medications. I may prescribe other medications to help with mood disorders or another psychological problem. I have qualifications and certification from DEA and CSAT (Center fo Substance Abuse Treatment) to prescribe burprenorphine (Subutex and Suboxone) under the Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 for the treatment of opiate dependence with a prescription from a doctor's office.

For most, an essential part of successful treatment is a 12-Step program (or self-help support group.) I would request that you to go to 90 support group meetings in 90 days. I may review the history of your family interactions, your relationships, clarify your values, your purpose in life and the history of your personality development. I find that talking of past memories and experiences can explain present day behavior. Recognizing unpleasant traits in your past and your difficulties in your family can allow you to put a stop to unwanted repeating patterns, habits and behaviors.

I’ll try very hard to understand exactly where you’re at and where you want to go. 

We can assess the situation, work with your strengths, mobilize your available resources and make plans for putting into practice a new outlook on your life. The family system has probably experienced chaos and destruction. We can begin the healing process. Topics we may talk about include: acceptance, ambivalence, anger, co-dependency, courage, craving, disease model, enabling behavior, esteem, expressing emotions & feelings, gratitude, healing, health, meditation, relapse, resentments, salvation, stress, self-awareness, shame, spirituality, trauma and triggers.

My treatment method for substance abuse includes: CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), Motivational Enhancement (MI) and 12 step facilitation. I will teach methods to change addictive behavior lifestyles, challenge distorted thinking and work with your strengths. We'll find your level of interest in making a change in your life. I may make referrals to other experts. I may coordinate treatment for your physician, other therapists, pre- and post inpatient rehabilitation, and, if you wish, coordinate a treatment plan with your family and relationships. Relapse prevention is essential. With longer term therapy, we can look at your underlying deep seated unconscious personality conflicts. We can work through the root causes of your addiction.

First, you must stop using. Recovery from addiction is a long-term process. Some patients benefit from long-term insight and solution focused therapy. Long term complete recovery requires many months or years of hard work.

We can start a trial program of 2 to 3 sessions to see if our style and personalities are compatible with my approach using: focused, solution, and insight-oriented psychotherapy.
Give me a call (510-495-4826) or, send me an e-mail . Let's figure out if change is in your future.

Thomas A. Gonda, Jr.,
Direct Line:
(510) 495-4826

FAX: (888) 960-9076
Skype: ThomasGonda
[email protected]


Solution Focused,
Talk Therapy, Insight

Offices: Oakland,
San Diego, Las Vegas, Reno

California Licensed
Physician and Surgeon
(G 60409)

California Licensed
Marriage and Family
Therapist (MFC 50715)

Nevada Licensed
Active Status Medical Doctor
(Licensure #16330)

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