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Howard B. Moss, M.D.
Addiction Psychiatry
is no longer at:
Counseling Clinics of La Jolla. 
1150 Silverado Street,
La Jolla, Ca 92037
Phone: 858-222-8800.
His practice is now closed.

Thank you for your interest.

Do I have an alcohol or other drug abuse problem?

Abuse of alcohol or other drugs is characterized by continuing to use the probematic substances despite significant substance-related problems.  These may include physical health problems, relationship or family problems, workplace problems, school problems or legal problems such as arrests or DUIs. Dependence on alcohol or other drugs is typically characterized by these adverse consequences of substance taking in different aspects of one's life, as well as the development of tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive substance taking.  This compulsive aspect of substance taking is reflected in a loss-of-control over one's use of these substances. 

If alcohol or other drugs are causing problems in your life, and you can't seem to control your use of these substances, it is likely that you have a substance use disorder requiring professional attention.

Do I really need addiction treatment?  I can usually handle my problems. What about A.A.?

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, most people find that professional treatment for their alcohol and drug problems is the best way to address their substance use disorder.  Twelve-step fellowhip programs such as Alcoholics Annonymous provide extra peer support when you need it, and your participation in A.A. is strongly encouraged.  However, A.A. is not for everyone, and it in itself does not constitute a "treatment" for addiction.  In fact, the A.A.  organization does not refer to itself as a "treatment".  While attending A.A. may be sufficient for the recovery of some people, the benefits of professional addiction treatment are substantial.  Addiction treatment provides gives you the tools you need to avoid triggers to use, manage cravings, and re-direct damaging patterns of substance use.


What is addiction treatment like? 

Every treatment session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals.  Your initial session will be a 90 minute drug and alcohol evaluationAll patients in treatment with Dr. Moss are required to undergo this inital evalution. Dr. Moss will examine your alcohol and drug use history, patterns of use, diagnose any psychiatric problems  that might complicate your treatment, and conduct a mental status examination in order to determine whether you need more formal neuropsychological testing. This neuropsychological testing involves the completion of a series of tasks that measure your mind's ability to think, remember, and learn in order to determine whether your substance use has produced brain damage.  He will also ask that you re-take these tests after several months of treatment in order to monitor your recovery of brain functioning with treatment. Based upon the initial drug and alcohol evaluation and the results of the neuropsychological tests, Dr. Moss will develop a treatment plan that he will discuss with you, and seek your approval.

After you have completed your initial evalution,  Dr. Moss will schedule you for your regular weekly treatment sessions initially, and then less frequently as your recovery progresses.  Prior to each of your sessions, you may be asked to provide a urine sample that will be chemically assayed for the presence of a wide variety of drugs that people abuse. This will help your doctor know what substances you are using or had used over the past week. even if you do not know the true identity of what you have taken. Each session lasts around fifty minutes. It is standard for addiction psychiatrists to discuss the primary substance abuse issues and concerns in your life during the sessions.  

Generally, treatment for an addiction problem may take from 3 months to a year.  During this time, you will experience cravings, negative thoughts, and triggers to use. It is important to work with the doctor to recognize and cope with these dangers of relapse.  There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For treatment to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking addiction treatment are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In many cases, a combination of medication and addiction therapy is the right course of action. Working with Dr. Moss you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to substance abuse problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Do you accept insurance?

Dr. Moss no longer accepts insurance.   

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychiatrist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.