Doctors who specialize in inpatient addiction treatment are known as addiction specialists. They play a very important role in rehab facilities as they are capable of evaluating and diagnosing addiction disorders as well as providing services for the prevention and treatment of addiction. Overall, they essentially help individuals design their treatment plans.
With over 21 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorder, it is unfortunate to realize that only about 11% of them have received adequate treatment. Sadly, one of the factors noted is the limited number of physicians trained to have expertise in addiction medicine.
The Role of Addiction Specialists At Inpatient Rehab
Addiction medicine is a subspecialty in the field of medicine which was recognized by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties as under the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Physicians and psychiatrists who wish to level up their field of expertise in addiction treatment must submit to the qualifications by the board to earn a certificate.
Although multiple other treatment professionals cater to the needs of patients who suffer from substance addiction, the following are the two most valuable roles as they are licensed in the field of medicine and certificated with a subspecialty in addiction medicine. They are capable of diagnosing disorders and prescribing medicines to patients.
Addiction psychiatrists are experts in treating individuals who suffer from both mental disorders and substance use disorders. Their crucial role is to diagnose these co-occurring disorders and provide treatment for both. They have extensive skills and experience in inpatient addiction treatment. The tendency to leave any disorder untreated can cause relapse.
In an inpatient treatment facility, addiction psychiatrists thoroughly evaluate the psychiatric condition of patients and determine whether this is a cause or a result of substance addiction. This finding is essential in designing their treatment plan. Their role is to constantly monitor the progress of patients by evaluating their response to the medication.
In the US, there are only 1288 addiction psychiatrists qualified to conduct dual diagnosis and treatment. This is an extremely limited number put in contrast to the reality that one out four people suffering from substance abuse also have a serious mental illness. With the lack of accurate diagnosis, the effectiveness of treatment is highly compromised.
Addiction Medicine Physician
Addiction medicine physicians are experts in treating individuals who suffer from substance addiction. The scope of their duty includes assessing the patients, coming up with an accurate diagnosis, and designing a treatment plan for them. They can also extend help to family members who are significantly affected by the act of substance abuse.
Before patients are admitted to a rehab facility, they are required to undergo several assessments such as a medical examination, as well as psychological and psychosocial assessments. This can be done by an addiction medicine physician. Should they identify dual disorders among patients, they refer them to addiction psychiatrists for treatment.
Just like regular doctors, addiction medicine physicians provide medically assisted treatment and monitor patients’ responses to the medication. In the rehab facility, they are in charge to lead the treatment plan and they may reconstruct it according to the progress brought by the initial treatment to the patients.
Rural areas suffer intensively from the limited number of addiction medicine physicians available in the country. The limited number of doctors makes it challenging for many patients to avail treatment. This is happening in rural areas. The prescription of buprenorphine to patients with addiction is even prevented for this reason.
Other Treatment Professionals At Inpatient Rehab
Aside from the administrative staff who caters to admission and financial services within the rehab facility, other treatment professionals are responsible for effectively providing inpatient care among patients with substance use disorder. Their role is as equally important as the addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists.
Nurses and Detox Specialists
Detox specialists are certified to manage the detoxification process among patients in the rehab facility. Detox is the first phase of treatment and is considered to be essential since it conditions the body for further treatment. You will feel some discomfort during your detox process, yet a trained medical personnel will attend to help you with that.
Nurses are also licensed to offer inpatient care by constantly monitoring vital signs and ensuring that medicines are taken at the prescribed time with the right amount of dosage. They work hand in hand with detox specialists specifically in providing services involving pain management during the whole duration of the treatment.
Substance Abuse Social Workers
Substance abuse social workers must earn a master’s degree and must be licensed to provide inpatient care. Their role is important as they help patients identify underlying issues which cause their substance abuse.
They provide support and counsel to patients so that they can better understand themselves and overcome their addiction.
Addiction Counselors and Therapists
Addiction counselors and therapists are licensed to provide addiction treatment to patients specifically by acting as a mentor or a teacher who guides them in overcoming their addiction. They are also psychologists who administer talk therapies as well as group therapies in inpatient rehab.
Their role is essential as they help patients develop the necessary skills to deal with cravings for the substance and they also help individuals recognize what triggers their addiction and learn to fight them off. They also provide family counseling to intervene in issues within family members which might have also caused the addiction.
Overall, these set of treatment professionals work together as a team in inpatient rehab and by doing so, they are more likely to provide an effective treatment among patients who are suffering from substance abuse. Professional care is necessary for addiction treatment since just like hypertension and diabetes, substance addiction is a chronic disease.
A person’s commitment to the treatment and cooperation with healthcare providers are essential factors to achieve recovery. Treatment with therapists and life coaches are also necessary as soon as patients begin to engage their life with reality outside the facility. The support provided by these partners prevents individuals from experiencing a relapse.