New UTHealth clinic uses cutting-edge research to treat addictions

The clinic’s program, Multidisciplinary Outpatient Intensive Treatment (MOTIVATE), will treat persons with addictive disorders including smoking, alcoholism, the use of illegal substances and the abuse of prescription medications.

“Our treatment for addictions combines pharmacological interventions with behavioral therapy. Studies have shown that when you do the two together, the results are superior,” said the center’s co-director, Joy Schmitz, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The UTHealth Medical School.

Schmitz said treatments will draw on the research carried out at “Centers of Excellence” such as UTHealth’s CNRA, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of National Institutes of Health.

“This allows us to transfer our technology and research to the next step, such as the use of medication for cocaine addiction,” said F. Gerald Moeller, M.D., the Louis A. Faillace Professor of Psychiatry and director of the CNRA and the clinic. “For example, we have published results showing that a medication prescribed for depression reduces cocaine use in some people with cocaine addiction, even if they don’t have depression.”

The clinic’s team approach includes licensed professional counselors and physicians. Moeller, Schmitz and Joel Steinberg, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, will be among the staff treating patients. The clinic is part of UT Physicians, the medical practice of the UTHealth Medical School.

“The treatment plan at MOTIVATE is individually tailored, based on results of an initial and comprehensive medical, psychiatric and behavioral evaluation,” Schmitz said. “We know that addiction is not just about taking a drug. It affects so many areas of functioning.”

After the medical and psychiatric screening, patients will be seen at the clinic twice a week over a 12-week period. Post-treatment recommendations will follow, including options for extending the MOTIVATE program. For more information, call 713-486-2790 or visit

Deborah Mann Lake
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030