David Louis Atkinson, MD $$

Pediatric Psychiatrist

Associate Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Languages Spoken:
English Italian


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David Atkinson, M.D., is the medical director of the Teen Recovery Program at Children’s Health and specializes in adolescent substance use. He is also an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

After earning his medical degree and interning at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Dr. Atkinson completed a psychiatry residency at UT Southwestern and a child and adolescent psychiatry residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2010, he completed addiction treatment training through a Mayo Clinic Fellowship.

Dr. Atkinson’s interest in addiction treatment developed after seeing firsthand the effects of substance abuse during his residency training.

“I thought that this was a very important topic to be addressed and especially understood through a child and adolescent perspective,” he says.

Dr. Atkinson treats substance abuse disorder and addiction with the understanding that it’s a pediatric disease, usually developing during adolescence. During treatment, he works with patients and parents to help teens overcome a condition many primary care providers are uncomfortable discussing.

Dr. Atkinson and his team follow their patients until they are about 20 years old to ensure they receive treatment from a familiar doctor while transitioning from adolescence to early adulthood.

Dr. Atkinson’s research interests include adolescent substance use as well as aggression in children. He recently published an article exploring ADHD prevalence in adult alcoholics.

Dr. Atkinson is an active member of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the Texas Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He serves on the board of directors for the Low Birth Weight Development Center, an organization that provides parent training, therapy and follow-up care for children who were born premature.

When he’s not working, Dr. Atkinson loves traveling to Sicily and other parts of Italy to spend time with friends. He is fluent in Italian and speaks some Spanish.

Education and Training

Medical School
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (2004)
University of Texas Medical School at Houston (2005), Psychiatry, General
University of Alabama (2009), Child/Adolescent Psychiatry
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (2007), Psychiatry, General
Mayo Graduate School of Medicine (2010), Psychiatry, General
Board Certification
American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology/Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Research Interests

    • Marijuana
  • Publications

    • The Clinical Utility of ASRS-v1.1 for Identifying ADHD in Alcoholics Using PRISM as the Reference Standard. Reyes MM, Schneekloth TD, Hitschfeld MJ, Geske JR, Atkinson DL, Karpyak VM J Atten Disord 2016 May
  • Professional Activities

    • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
    • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Awards and Honors

    • UT Southwestern Most Outstanding Contribution to Medical Education (2014, 2017)

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