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Addiction Medicine

What is Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic but treatable medical disease involving complex interactions between genetics, the environment, an individual’s brain circuitry, and their life experiences. When we think of addiction, we tend to focus on the use of substances like alcohol, tobacco, or legal and illegal drugs. However, it’s also possible to become addicted to behaviors such as gambling, shopping, sex, or surfing the internet. Over time, substance use or behavior pattern can become compulsive, and people find themselves unable to stop, despite harmful consequences.

Outpatient Addiction Medicine

Formally recognized as a medical subspecialty since 1990, Addiction Medicine entails the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of people who suffer from the disease of addiction. Addiction specialists also treat people with health conditions related to the chronic use of additive substances such as nicotine, prescription narcotics, alcohol, and legal or illegal drugs.

Community Memorial’s addiction medicine specialists have advanced training in the genetic, biological, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of addiction.

This complex expertise enables them to customize care for their patients. Treatment strategies may include one or more of the following modalities:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured, goal-oriented type of short-term psychotherapy that aims to change a person’s negative and destructive thought patterns about themselves and others.
  • Medication may be prescribed to treat comorbidities that affect many people with addiction, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.
  • Pharmacotherapy is the use of medication (such as methadone) to treat opioid addiction, reduce withdrawal symptoms, manage cravings, and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
  • Counseling is one-on-one talk therapy to help people resolve problematic behaviors, emotions, and beliefs so they can understand their personal triggers and issues and move forward.
  • Group therapy is form of psychotherapy in which a group of patients discuss their problems together under the supervision of a counselor or therapist.

In some cases, a medical detoxification may be necessary before therapy can begin. Each treatment plan is uniquely tailored to the needs of the patient and may be modified over time as that person’s needs change.

Our specialists treat opioid, alcohol, and tobacco use.