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Understanding the Role of an Addiction Recovery Specialist


Addiction is a chronic health problem that affects millions of people around the world. It comes in different forms, including alcohol use disorder, substance abuse disorder, gambling disorder, pathological shopping disorder, among others. For the sake of this article, the list is limited to alcohol and substance abuse. The typical term used to describe addiction is “disease of the will.”

Addictive behaviors are often a symptom of a larger, underlying problem that requires a wide variety of treatments ranging from behavioral therapies to medications to rehabs. An approach to rehabilitation is enlisting the professional assistance of an addiction recovery specialist.

Seeing an addiction recovery specialist could mean fewer health complications. Recovery is a long, complex journey, and there is no single path to success. The specialist can ensure that every step of the way is well-planned, monitored, and controlled.

Alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic condition that requires ongoing care, treatment, and follow-up support from addiction recovery specialists. These professionals could be physicians or psychiatrists who are familiar with addiction and its associated complications, including withdrawal symptoms and physical or psychological issues.

These professionals treat patients with the goal of minimizing and controlling their alcohol and substance dependence. With their help, treatment programs are adapted to the patients’ unique needs, with the latter being assured of post-treatment care and recovery support.

According to reports, over 2% of the world’s population suffers from drug or alcohol addiction. Even though addiction treatment delivers a successful, long-term solution, just one out of every seven patients within this category receive therapy. In the United States alone, 25 million people struggle with one or more addictions with only 3,000 physicians available to treat them.

The role of an addiction recovery specialist is an important one in the world of drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction recovery specialists have degrees in the treatment field. They are experts in addictions and their after-effects as well as in the recovery process.

Apart from having a solid educational background, an addiction recovery specialist is board-certified; this could either be a D.O. or M.D license. It indicates that the specialist has undergone years of training in the field and is proficient in practice. In the U.S., professional bodies include:

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

The skillset of an Addiction Recovery Specialist

Addiction specialists provide a comprehensive understanding of addiction, including its causes, medical and psychological repercussions, and recovery support services. These professionals are trained to do the following.

  • Deliver diagnosis and treatment plans for addiction, which they identify as a brain disorder.
  • Provide other professionals training in screening, intervention, and therapy referral.
  • Determine the necessary medication, treatment programs, and overall recovery plan that address addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Understand and effectively utilize the state’s prescription monitoring program.
  • Educate clients about the after-effects of addictions and how to avoid relapses.
  • Manage an aftercare program and follow-up care with motivation and empathy.
  • Have knowledge of different areas of specializations as well as contemporary drug testing methods.

The addiction recovery treatment team may include a physician, a psychiatrist, a nurse, a psychologist, and various other mental health professionals. Together, they work on the basis that the patient’s physical and psychological health improves once the dependence on drugs or alcohol is no longer a factor in their life.

Medically supervised addiction treatment programs provide patients with several benefits. Besides, if addiction is not addressed early on, it can have serious social, physical, psychological, and economic consequences.