When it comes to your family physician, you may think it has nothing to do with your addiction. Perhaps you even see an addiction specialist or go to outpatient treatment. But just because you’re getting treated outside of your primary physician’s office for addiction doesn’t mean you don’t need a family doctor who understands addiction. Because you do.
Your Best Interest
Your physician should always have your best interest in mind, but when he or she’s not informed about all of your health issues, including addiction, it makes treating the whole you impossible. Without an understanding of addiction, the doctor may unintentionally do things that aren’t in your best interest, simply because he or she doesn’t know better.
Addiction wreaks havoc on your mind and body and can cause all sorts of issues from tics to diabetes to bipolar disorder. If your doctor is unaware of the vast impact addiction can have on your body, they may be treating you with the wrong course of action.
Addiction is known to cause of 70 different ailments and conditions, including stomach ulcers, constipation, depression, and anxiety. With the rising costs of health care, allowing your doctor to waste time and money prescribing medications that won’t work and running tests that won’t show anything is irresponsible.
Dealing with Addiction
Although you may think your family physician automatically knows about addiction, most do not. As a matter of fact, most doctors fail to identify and diagnose drug addiction in their patients.
Perhaps some of this is unintentional, but many believe it’s because most primary care physicians do not know how to handle a patient’s addiction. They don’t know how to talk to the patient about the substance abuse, and it becomes frustrating when they don’t know what to do. And with less than two percent of physicians have any training in addiction, it’s no wonder they don’t know how to approach the topic or what direction to go in.
As medically assisted treatment continues to grow in demand, the need for more doctors educated in addiction medicine grows as well.
Suboxone and methadone are becoming more common treatment options for those with opiate addictions and each doctor can only handle so many patients. Perhaps as physicians recognize the demand, there will be more that learn about addiction and incorporate that knowledge into their practice.
When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be hard not to let it define you, yet it’s important to be open, honest, and upfront with your physician regarding your addiction. Explain from day one that you’re in recovery and that it’s a priority in your life. This allows the doctor to ask questions and know how to approach you regarding drug and alcohol abuse.