The shortage of drug addiction doctors who specialize in addiction is adding to the growing epidemic. Read further to learn about why we need more doctors to pay attention.
Drug Addiction is Overwhelming America
Many people assume that people addicted to drugs or alcohol are homeless and jobless. But this isn’t always the case. With 5.47% of the population in America addicted to alcohol or drugs in 2017, drug addiction affects every demographic. There are many people who become addicted to drugs after being in an accident. Some people start drinking to numb their feelings instead of seeing a medical professional to get the help they need. The shortage of addiction doctors who specialize in addiction add to this problem.
Anyone can become addicted to something at any time. Certain people are more likely to become addicted to certain drugs than others. Women, for example, are far more likely to become addicted to stimulants than men. This is because many are self-conscious about the way they look. Many use stimulants to try to keep their weight down and end up addicted to them. Men are far more likely to become addicted to harder drugs, such as heroin.
Recovering from a drug addiction without help is very difficult to do. Those trying to recover often need professional help in order to overcome their addiction. This is where medicated assistance becomes valuable. Addicted people can’t buy medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms over the counter. An addicted person needs to get a prescription for the medications in order to gain access to them. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of addiction doctors within the United States who have the credentials to prescribe these medications.
We Need Drug Addiction Doctors More than Ever
People often think that any doctor can prescribe addiction medication, but that isn’t the case. There are actually less than 3,000 doctors throughout the nation who can prescribe these valuable resources to those trying to recover from addiction. We’re proud to have one of these addiction specialists at the head of our team.
Nicki Rippeteau, M.D. has committed herself to saving lives and helping others for over 30 years. Her philosophy aligns with ours, and together, we’ve pledged to help as many people as possible. But we need more addiction specialists. In order to gain access to this addiction specialty, doctors must go through thorough training and certification.
The training and education are essential when it comes to prescribing these medications. The doctor needs to be able to identify real addiction. They need to know how much of the medications each addiction needs. What’s more, they also need to assess the appropriate dosage for their patients. In addition to focused medical training, doctors need board certification from the American Board of Preventative Medicine. Finally, he or she needs to obtain certifications from multiple addiction boards such as the American Board of Addiction Medicine or the American Osteopathic Association.
Addiction doctors need to monitor the progress that their patients make in recovery. They need to identify if a relapsed has taken place to ensure that they get the best care possible. Having medical and psychological treatment helps patients overcome every aspect of their addiction.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that addiction is only physical. In fact, addiction is a mental health condition with physical and psychological symptoms. People often relapse when they start to experience the withdrawal symptoms that come when they stop using drugs. The medications that are prescribed to treat withdrawal symptoms make recovery easier. Pairing the prescription medication with mental addiction treatment can better the chances of long-term success with their recovery.
What’s the Solution to the Shortage of Drug Addiction Doctors?
It’s important to know that drug abuse often occurs in rural areas. With only a little over 5% of people actually getting the addiction help they need, providing more treatment options is crucial. The growing epidemic has been exacerbated by the lack of addiction treatment facilities in these areas. In order to slow down the growth of the epidemic, we need to provide people with access to the help that they need.
The first step that needs to take place is for people to voice their concerns about the addiction epidemic. Letting legislators know that constituents want to see change can spark change. The government spends money based on where they see a need for change. Letting your legislators know that there needs to be a change in the availability of addiction treatment can make it more accessible for people in rural communities. You can contact your legislators by email, phone or even by mail.
For more drug addiction treatment to be available, there simply needs to be more doctors going into the field. There are new models for addiction care being introduced on a regular basis. These new models entice providers to want to work in addiction care. The models make it easier to provide those suffering from addiction to get the care that they need.
Educating people about addiction is important. Medical professionals need to inform their patients when they are taking medications that could lead to addiction. Helping people realize that there is help available to them is also crucial. Establishing more drug treatment facilities across the United States will make it easier to diminish drug addiction in this country.
To encourage more people to reach out for the addiction help that they need, we need to erase the stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction can happen to anyone. People don’t choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It often happens before they realize it. Many people hide their addiction as much as they can for fear of being judged by others. This weaves a life of isolation and secrecy.
The stigma that comes with addiction can be debilitating. Supporting loved ones who are battling an addiction can be the best way for them to get the help they need. While it may be difficult to find help in certain rural areas, there are treatment options available elsewhere. Your loved one may have to travel for treatment. In fact, some doctors suggest that traveling for treatment is ideal. It removes distractions and temptations. Providing addicted loved ones with transportation, financial assistance or simply emotional support could be the change that they need.
The sooner the country gets more access to drug addiction treatment, the sooner the epidemic can be managed. Doing everything that you can to promote drug addiction treatment can help make the epidemic more manageable in your area.