Addiction is a very complex disease – one that can control people and alter their behaviors or thoughts. We all want to help people who are going through this; but we, unfortunately, can’t do it all on our own.
A disorder as deep-rooted as addiction requires medical, psychological, and emotional understanding. Treatment should be handled by a professional who has dedicated their career to helping individuals overcome addiction; someone who can discover where the issue stemmed from to help the person with the disorder start their journey to recovery.
These professionals are known as Addiction Specialists. They have carefully studied the science of addiction to help those with substance abuse disorders achieve sobriety and return home with their loved ones. If you or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, contacting an addiction specialist might be a great place to begin.
Addiction Specialists: Who They Are
Addiction specialists are health professionals certified by an official medical organization. A specialist’s certification depends on their education level and the state-level requirements they fulfill.
The three main types include:
Certified Addiction Specialists (CAS)
Who can be certified: doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, etc.
Who can certify them: The American Academy of Healthcare Professionals in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCP)
Certified Substance Abuse Practitioners (CSAP)
Who can be certified: licensed psychologists, physicians, school counselors, or those with a graduate degree in counseling or human behavior
Who can certify them: The American Institute of Healthcare Professionals
Medical Doctors & Psychiatrists
Who can be certified: Doctors & psychiatrists who wish to have a specialty in addiction medicine
Who can certify them: The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) & The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Regardless of their title, the main purpose of an Addiction Specialist is to understand the individual they’re working with and help them take the next steps to overcome their disorder.
The Roles and Duties of Addiction Specialists
So what exactly do Addiction Specialists do for people with substance abuse issues? In order to lead their patient to a happier life, they may:
- Work with a team of other health professionals
- Create a treatment plan and adjust as needed
- Offer counseling sessions
- Keep track of patient progress
- Develop a relapse prevention plan
- Help patients form more beneficial habits
- Serve as a referral for social services
Essentially, Addiction Specialists are friends that help people with substance abuse problems recover in a comfortable and organized environment. The detoxing & recovery process can be difficult to go through at all, let alone without a comprehensive plan. These specialists are here to take stress off of the patient and their family members by providing them with tools and ensuring they’re being used effectively.
Getting Started With A Specialist
Every addiction specialist is different and can help in varied ways. If you’d like to select a specialist on your own, look for who’s available in your area and see which areas of addiction they are most familiar with. Or, if you’re close to your PCP, they might be able to refer someone who could be a good fit.