An addiction specialist holds a medical degree as an M.D. or a D.O. You’ll find these initials after their name as credentials of their specialization.
You first meet your specialist in rehab when you undergo your addiction assessment before addiction counseling begins. This doctor will then diagnose your condition, whether it’s just addiction or addiction with a co-occurring mental illness.
For your assessment, your specialist will use a personal interview, physical checkup, diagnostic testing, and other methods. The information they gain from your assessment helps them plan your treatment. This treatment plan for rehab includes medical care, addiction therapy, safety precautions, immediate health needs, social support referrals and clinical decisions needed to shape your rehab experience. Together, all parts of your treatment plan work together for your lasting recovery.
Your addiction specialist works with you throughout your rehab period. If you need other doctors’ help, your specialist can offer referrals. At the end of rehab, your specialist will help develop your aftercare plan.
Specialists in addiction handle many responsibilities and perform certain tasks. These include:
- Recognizing addiction as separate from other conditions
- Diagnosing addiction as a brain illness
- Using knowledge and communication to prescribe the right treatment
- Screening patients, performing interventions, and managing other professionals in addiction treatment
- Being a positive resource with a helpful attitude for individuals in treatment, their family, and other loved ones
- Knowing the right ways to deal with co-occurring conditions
- Recognizing and managing withdrawal
- Understanding drug testing and using it for treatment
- Understanding the cycle of addiction and how it affects the body and brain
While other substance abuse counselors will help you throughout treatment, your specialist is your go-to resource for the most complete information about your disease and how to manage your recovery.