Substance Abuse Specialist

Russell Surasky, FAAN, ABPM -  - Mental Illness & Addiction Treatment

Russell Surasky, FAAN, ABPM

Mental Illness & Addiction Treatment located in Great Neck, NY

Substance use disorders affect more than 21.5 million Americans, almost 80% of whom struggle with alcohol. No matter the substance, a use disorder can hijack your life in significant ways, which is why seeking help is important. Dr. Russell Surasky, FAAN, ABAM, ABPM, is certified in both neurology and addiction, giving him the tools necessary to get his patients in Great Neck, New York, on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, call or use the online scheduler to learn more.

Substance Use Disorder Q & A

What is a substance use disorder?

There are many names for a substance use disorder, such as drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, but the problem is best defined as a substance use disorder because of the stigma that often accompanies terms like “addict” or “abuse.” The fact is that a substance use disorder is a disease that involves both your mental and physical health, as well as your emotional health.

This distinction is important because there are usually two parts of a substance use problem:


Your brain is rewired to receive the substance, which causes uncontrollable cravings and the inability to control the use of your drug of choice. This loss of control can take over your life in innumerable ways that are beyond your control.


With dependency, your body goes into withdrawal when your drug of choice isn’t available, which accounts for the physical side of the problem.

What are the signs of substance use disorder?

When your brain rewires itself when first becoming addicted, it causes you to act in ways that are not “normal.” While many people display different warning signs of a substance use disorder, the following are some of the more common characteristics.

  • Strong cravings
  • Increasing tolerance to the substance, causing you to use more
  • The inability to truly satisfy your craving, also causing you to use more
  • Trying unsuccessfully to quit
  • Isolating yourself
  • Hiding your use
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Withdrawal symptoms (shaking, for example)
  • Obsession with your drug of choice

Again, there are many different signs of a substance use disorder and only the person in the throes of the condition can truly know for sure whether they’ve lost control over their use. The problem is the brain creates ample denial mechanisms in order to keep using.

The best way to know for sure is to sit down with substance use disorder specialist Dr. Surasky to review your, or your loved one’s, symptoms.

How is a substance use disorder treated?

As an addiction specialist and neurologist, Dr. Surasky brings a unique approach to the problem that tackles the three areas that your problem affects: mind, body, and soul. Once you’ve detoxed, Dr. Surasky can help prevent relapse and cravings with Naltrexone® or Vivitrol®, which are antagonists that prevent the drugs from attaching to your brain’s receptors. In effect, it makes it more difficult to get high or drunk.

Alongside medications, Dr. Surasky promotes group therapy, one-on-one counseling, and 12-step programs, all of which go a long way toward addressing the behavioral and emotional components of the disease.

If you’d like more information about treating a substance use disorder, call Dr. Russell Surasky or request a consultation using the online booking tool.