therapist with patient explaining What is An Addiction Specialist

What is An Addiction Specialist?

Substance abuse turns your life upside down. You find yourself in a position where drugs or alcohol become the most important thing in your life. It causes problems with work, health, and relationships. If you’ve been considering treatment, you might be asking, “What is an addiction specialist?”

Addiction specialists apply their expertise through hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehab centers, or their own practices. They help you return to a life of sobriety. They are specially trained medical professionals who focus on understanding and treating substance use and abuse disorders, including alcohol, prescription medication or illicit drugs.

Addiction specialists focus on the field of addiction medicine and often serve at the front line of treatment programs. Understanding the answer to the question “What is an addiction specialist?” will help you choose the right professional to help you or your loved address your unique set of needs.

What is An Addiction Specialist?

Addiction specialists are doctors and psychiatrists who have met the certification requirements of various professional associations in the field of addiction medicine. Their charge as doctors is to provide “prevention, screening, intervention and treatment” for individuals suffering from problems with substance abuse and addiction, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The country has a shortage of addiction specialists — only about 4,400 addiction specialists nationwide, in a country where an estimated 20 million people struggle with addiction, the society notes. 

How do Addiction Specialists Help?

Addiction specialists develop detailed treatment plans based on the individual circumstances of the patients they see. Treatment plans will be different for every person but generally can include detox, therapy, relapse prevention, and other elements of follow-up care.

These plans provide the path for you to follow as you make your way back to a life of sobriety and happiness.

The job of an addiction specialist includes many different challenges. According to Louis E. Baxter, an addiction specialist recently featured in a profile by the American Medical Association, one large obstacle is patient acceptance. Baxter explains, “Some patients do not wish to accept their diagnosis,” potentially because of denial. But, he adds, the initial struggles provide a payback, “The most rewarding aspect of addiction medicine is that you can see patients progress from sickness to wellness in a relatively short period of time.” 

What to Expect from Treatment

Addiction specialists are experts who can help shape your future through comprehensive treatment plans and programs. The process starts with a thorough and comprehensive analysis, looking for signs of substance abuse and/or mental health challenges.

From there, treatment will involve a combination of medically supervised detox, along with various forms of individual, group, or family therapy. In certain cases, a patient may also benefit from medication-based addiction treatment, as in the case of heroin. Certain medications can dampen the “high” provided by illegal substances, allowing patients to move past the painful withdrawal period.

Admitting you need help, and then finding the right care, is the most important step of all. 

Get the Support You Need at Right Step Houston

At Right Step Houston, you can find the professionals who can help you break the cycle of dependence. No matter if you’re struggling with issues brought on by drugs or alcohol, we can help. Addiction can feel like a lonely battle. But it doesn’t have to. Right Step Houston and its team of addiction and clinical specialists provide comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab programs aimed at helping you return to sobriety. Our compassionate programs include

All of our various approaches can help you or a loved one return to health. So call us today for a confidential consultation at 1.844.768.0169.


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