What is an addiction specialist?
Addiction specialists are addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists that demonstrate by education, experience, and examination the requisite knowledge and skills to provide prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment for substance use and addiction. In addition, addiction specialists can recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. They also hold either subspecialty board certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), subspecialty board certification in addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), board certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), or a Certificate of Added Qualification in Addiction Medicine conferred by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA),
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) also publishes Standards of Care for the Addiction Specialist Physician which details the expectations for professionalism and practice of an addiction specialist.
What is an addiction medicine physician?
According to the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), Addiction Medicine is concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications and other licit and illicit drugs. Physicians in this subspecialty also help family members whose health and functioning are affected by a loved one’s substance use or addiction.
Addiction medicine physicians are physicians with a primary medical specialty other than psychiatry who are certified in addiction medicine by either ABPM, ABAM, or AOA. In November 2016, ABPM announced that it would offer physicians who are certified by a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) the opportunity to become certified in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine. The first ABMS-recognized Addiction Medicine board exam was offered in October 2017. There are multiple pathways to ABPM certification, each of which has different requirements that physicians must meet.