Addiction Medicine

What is Addiction and Addiction Medicine?

Addiction is a physical or psychological dependence on a substance or behavior. In medical terms, it is the result of the body being unable to maintain a normal state without use of an artificial substance. Psychological addiction is closely related to compulsion, in which the body or mind seeks a rewarding chemical reaction from behavior that may be in some way harmful. There are many factors that can lead to addiction, from genetics to traumatic experiences or mental disorders.

Understanding and combating addictions can be an incredibly difficult practice, and the goal of addiction psychiatry is to aid addicts in their recovery process. The practice of addiction medicine is a relatively new area to psychological medicine. Because of the traditional codes of shame and silence about addiction, it is only within the last 100 years that the idea of treating addicts has come to light. With advanced understanding of the chemical reaction to addiction and the psychological factors included in the process, addiction medicine has advanced tremendously since the mid-20th century. It is often recommended for recovering addicts in addition to other treatments or therapies, and is sometimes court-ordered as part of prison-alternative sentencing.

Addiction psychiatrists are an important part of addiction medicine. Addiction psychiatrists often use a combination of medicine and psychotherapy to help addicts fight their specific addiction. This can include the use of drugs to combat withdrawal symptoms consistent with denying the body or mind its drug of choice. They also conduct extensive studies on the process of addiction and how it can be prevented.

It may seem inconsistent to fight an addiction with medical drugs, some of which carry addiction risks of their own. The theory behind complementary medical treatment of addicts is that the drugs used act like a nicotine patch. Instead of going completely off the addictive substance or practice and suffering serious withdrawal, the medicines used in addiction psychiatry provide a gradually lessening dose of the chemical reaction that the body is craving.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, meeting with an addiction psychiatrist may be the first step to recovery.

Why Northern Integrated Health?

  1. We are the experts - We are specialists in addiction medicine.  We have physicians who are Nationally Board Certified in Addiction Medicine or Addiction Psychiatry, Certified in Pain Management, and even have a Medical Review Officer on staff. All of our physicians also have decades of experience in other areeas of medicine, and therefore understand the complex mind body interactions.
  2. Experience - Collectively our physicians have over 70 years of experience in the addiction field.
  3. Office-based treatment - We have confidential treatment in a suburban medical office setting, and all of our medical staff possess an X DEA number, meaning they can and do prescribe Suboxone/Buprenorphine for opiate addiction medication assisted recovery.
  4. Evidenced Based Practices - We use evidence based approaches to treatment, utilize harm reduction and pharmacologic assisted recovery strategies, and welcome family or significant other involvement.


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