In the early stages of recovery or while looking to help a loved one, you may have come across the term “addiction specialist.” This professional plays a special role in substance abuse treatment programs. For those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, addiction specialists can be invaluable resources on the road to recovery.

If you’re ready to break free from the cycle of addiction, reach out to a treatment center near you today. A specialized drug or alcohol treatment program can help you heal.

What Is an Addiction Specialist?

While there are many different types of addiction and substance abuse counselors, an addiction specialist is a medical doctor. Both physicians and psychiatrists can declare a specialty and become certified in addiction treatment. The presence of this specialization is vital to our country’s battle with addiction. The vast majority of those who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol never receive treatment, even though professional treatment programs can promote lasting, sustainable sobriety.

Additionally, many healthcare professionals do not have the knowledge and experience needed to diagnose addiction adequately. Many people working with addiction treatment centers do not have the medical and psychiatric expertise and skills to provide the treatment options needed for a successful recovery.

After completing medical school, physicians and psychiatrists can receive board certification in addiction from one of the following:

  • ABPM, American Board of Preventative Medicine
  • ABPN, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • ABAM, American Board of Addiction Medicine
  • AOA, American Osteopathic Association

Achieving one of these certifications means that the doctor has shown through education, experience, passing an exam which is an exceptional understanding of the specialty. Therefore, they are qualified to diagnose and treat addiction as well as the psychiatric and physical issues related to long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol. These addiction specialists can make a difference in the lives of those working to overcome substance use issues.

What Should You Expect in an Addiction Specialist?

In addition to the expected medical and psychiatric knowledge, a specialty in addiction requires many other skills. An addiction specialist will have the following:

  1. Current M.D or D.O. license.
  2. The ability to recognize and diagnose addiction as a primary brain illness, prescribe appropriate treatment for patients and families, and perform and train others in screening, intervention, and referral to treatment.
  3. A capacity for treating patients and families with empathy and motivating them to seek the right appropriate treatments.
  4. The knowledge and experience to address medical and psychiatric conditions typical of those who struggle with addiction as well as withdrawal symptoms.
  5. Understanding of other disciplines in the field and current drug testing technologies.
  6. Knowledge of the state’s prescription monitoring program and its appropriate use.

When you begin a treatment program, you’ll start working with an addiction specialist who understands the specific challenges and obstacles you might face on the road to recovery.

The Benefits of Working With an Addiction Specialist

Obviously, it is to everyone’s benefit to have an addiction specialist on-site at a rehab. Nearly 50% of those addicted to drugs or alcohol have or develop a dual diagnosis or physical symptoms of the disease. These highly trained physicians and psychiatrists have specific knowledge that can assist individuals through recovery. More often than not, addiction specialists lead a team of counselors and medical professionals. Under the direction of an addiction specialist, each member of the team will do their part to enhance the treatment plan developed by the addiction specialist.

As you might expect, developing the right individual treatment is important. Sometimes, what may appear to be an addiction could be a physical dependence. In such cases, an addiction specialist would recognize the unique characteristics of the issue and create a concrete plan. More often than not, people with a physical dependence will be slowly weaned off of the substance, unlike the immediate detox necessary for those struggling with active addiction.

Finding Help at Westwind Recovery®

Treatment under the supervision of a certified addiction specialist is closer than you think. At Westwind Recovery®, we offer a variety of treatment options and therapies to help you get on the path to recovery. These include:

  • Detox programs – Begin recovery with a strong foundation by going through detox under medical supervision
  • Inpatient treatment – This treatment option provides a high level of support and accountability
  • Outpatient treatment – Participate in our highly effective therapies while still taking care of daily responsibilities
  • Sober living – A supportive, structured environment where you can thrive in recovery

Reach out to our team today to learn how, under the guidance of two certified addiction specialists, we can help you regain control of your life.