About Us

About Us

The Excelsior Program provides an innovative approach to improve significantly the adverse physical and psychosocial effects for addictive disorders. The University of Virginia Health System Excelsior Program is the first program of its kind to offer comprehensive and uniquely adaptive pharmacological and psychological treatment.

The Excelsior Program provides a unique opportunity for those who wish to obtain help for addictive disorders without entering a long-term residential treatment program or significantly disrupting their professional/personal activities.

Our outpatient addiction program offers an innovative treatment approach to help significantly improve the adverse physical and psychosocial effects of addictive substances in drug- and alcohol-dependent individuals while addressing the underlying cause of the addictive disorder.

At Excelsior, we offer a uniquely tailored outpatient treatment plan that is evidence-based and individualized. Treatment includes state-of-the-art cognitive behavioral therapy as well as FDA approved medications that have been found to reduce cravings for addictive substances. Our multi-faceted program also includes a personal liaison, who will handle the scheduling of appointments, coordination of travel and other services as needed.

Our program is private, discrete, completely confidential, and individually tailored to meet our patient's needs. Patients who are accepted into the program begin with a comprehensive medical examination, psychological evaluation, and psychosocial evaluation so that we can identify and evaluate any underlying physical problems that may result from the addiction or contributing to it. This is followed by the development and implementation of a comprehensive treatment plan, including, but not limited to, the initiation of medication and psychosocial therapy.

Our Founder, Professor Johnson, is also the Chairman of the University of Virginia Health System Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and has nearly two decades of experience in performing clinical and laboratory studies that have contributed significantly to the development of medications for treating addictions.

Professor Johnson and his team are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to help you on your way to recovery.

Our goals are to:

  • Understand the biological aspects of substance abuse
  • Provide medications that can help correct biological predispositions believed to increase the risk of addiction
  • Teach behavior-changing techniques
  • Decrease the cravings associated with substance abuse
  • Work towards abstinence


Through our outpatient treatment program, we hope to bring new knowledge to better understand the biological underpinning of addiction. Our approach combines medications, which target different brain pathways known to be involved in the rewarding effects of drugs, with behavior-changing techniques in an effort to reduce craving associated with substance abuse.