Addiction Specialist

Holistic Psychiatry

Meredith Sagan, MD

Psychiatrist located in Santa Monica, CA

Nearly 20 million Americans ages 12 and older battle a substance use disorder, often with life-altering consequences. At Holistic Psychiatry, Meredith Sagan, MD, understands that addiction is a disease that controls your mind, body, and soul, and she helps her patients in Encino, California, regain control of their lives. To get expert and compassionate help for addiction issues, please call the office or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.


What is addiction?

Addiction is a component of a larger problem called a substance use disorder, a complex disease in which you’re unable to control your use of drugs or alcohol. The disease has both mental and physical components, which are addiction and dependency. 

With addiction, your use of a substance causes your brain to rewire itself to receive more of your drug of choice. This rewiring creates uncontrollable and intense cravings and the inability to stop using despite the negative consequences.

With dependency, your body is physically dependent upon the substance and goes into withdrawal when the drug is taken away.

What are the signs of addiction?

A substance use disorder affects people in different ways, but there are some common telltale signs of the disease, including:

  • Uncontrolled use of your drug of choice
  • Poor judgment
  • Increasing isolation
  • Hiding the drug use
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme moodiness
  • Denial 
  • The need to use more to achieve the same effect

Ultimately, addiction is a disease that hijacks your life in every way — mentally, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The drug or alcohol usurps all else when you’re in the throes of addiction, and you increasingly lose control over all areas of your life.

In almost half of all cases of addiction, there’s a co-occurring disorder, such as depression or anxiety. In these cases, the drugs or alcohol are an attempt at self-medication that leads to a substance use disorder.

How is addiction treated?

Because of the complexity of addiction, Dr. Sagan believes in a holistic approach to the problem that provides you with the tools you need to tap your true self by promoting self-awareness and mindfulness. Relying on a movement-based therapeutic treatment method, Dr. Sagan has extensive experience helping clients move forward in life, especially those exiting a rehab who need to bridge the safety of a treatment facility and the outside world.

By teaching you mindfulness-based self-regulation techniques to replace unhealthy coping mechanisms, Dr. Sagan helps you break old habits and patterns and sets you on a new course that allows you to handle life on life’s terms.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please call Holistic Psychiatry or set up a confidential consultation using the online scheduling tool.