What is addiction medicine and what makes it different from other fields of practice?
Addiction medicine is an interdisciplinary practice specializing in the identification and treatment of persons whose disorders are caused or exacerbated by the use of addictive substances. Such substances have the unique property of promoting continued use in a compulsive manner despite adverse consequences to the user. In our society, the most notable offending substances are nicotine, alcohol, opiates, stimulant drugs, and marijuana.
Services typically offered by specialist in addiction medicine include:
Assessment of substance use disorders.
Management of withdrawal.
Consultation with other physicians concerning identification, intervention and management of patients in hospital or office practice whose disorders are directly linked to use of these substances.
Facilitation of patient engagement in treatment programs designed to reduce the progression of the patient’s substance-related problems.
Development of outcomes-based treatment programs for such patients.
Environmental modifications so as to alter the social, behavioral, and pharmacologic inputs that support the continuation of substance abuse and dependence.
Research into the genetic and neurobioligic aspects of addiction, with the ultimate goal of developing improved methods of prevention, early intervention and treatment (behavioral and pharmacologic) of addictive disorders.