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Addiction Psychiatry is a specialized Psychiatry field that helps break the cycle of addiction to substance abuse or obsessive destructive behaviors such as gambling addiction or eating disorders. Addiction Psychiatry became a recognized specialty area of Psychiatry in 1993 and requires an additional one-year training residency approved by the Accredited Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This is in addition to medical school and General Psychiatry qualifications received by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN)
How is Addiction Psychiatry Different?
Addiction Psychiatry is different in that is has a dual diagnosis or co-occurring element in it of treating the addiction behaviors as well as any other mental disorders such as mood or social disorders. In Depression related substance abuse it is estimated that one-third of those with Depression are also substance abusers. The National Bureau of Economic Research states that mental illness accounts for 69% of the nation’s alcohol and 84% of the nation’s cocaine consumption.
How Are Addiction Disorders Treated?
To treat Addiction Disorders an overall view of current lifestyle, family history, any physical disorders and lifestyle patterns are examined with the view of adopting a healthier way of coping. Medications may be used to treat withdrawal symptoms from the substance abuse itself and any other co-occurring mental health issues. Withdrawal symptoms for substance abuse can occur within eight hours of taking the substance. Delerium Tremens (DTs) is a serious withdrawal symptom that requires urgent medical attention. DTs can be fatal in 5 to 25 percent of cases and can occur 24 to 72 hours after drinking and up to 10 days afterwards. Another potentially fatal condition is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome which is caused by Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. Counseling that includes peer support and medical supervision of health is an important all-inclusive approach to treating Addiction Disorders.
Withdrawal from the substances being abused is necessary to ascertain an accurate diagnosis of underlying physical and mental health issues. Some individuals may need more intensive treatment in an inpatient environment such as a Rehab Facility to break the cycle of addiction of impulse control disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that a three month treatment plan is more successful than shorter time plans. Another feature of successful treatment is follow-up support once the Rehab stay is over. Outpatient facilities and support groups can offer this long-term support.
Recovery Lifestyle Changes
Current choices and a review of past lifestyle choices are an important element in overcoming and preventing relapses in Addiction Abuse. Peer Support groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) employs a Twelve Step Program to encourage and support a new addiction free lifestyle. Ways of coping with alcohol abuse and mental Illness for those helping to sponsor recovery is also addressed. Special Peer support is offered for those under the age of 25 year old. The emphasis on lifestyle choices uses a “24 hour plan”. This helps to make the time focused on “not drinking” manageable. The “First thing first approach” is that “not drinking” is the most important thing and being realistic about recovery schedules. Self-care becomes the most important of these tasks. This helps to prevent denial of current situations and substituting other addictions such as over eating that will lead to shame of not practicing self care. Shame is a major trigger for relapsing back into addiction behavior. Local meeting venues and online support are available by country.
Peer Support Meetings
Understanding how Addiction Recovery Peer Support meetings work can be helpful. A typical AA meeting begins with the Serenity Prayer, written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr which is today quoted as “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Readings from the Twelve Step Tradition literature may be read by different members and one of the Twelve Steps may be focused on. The AA program is designed to be inclusive and to be a member all that is required is to want to stop drinking. If the attendance of the meeting has been court-order any paperwork is signed at the end of the meeting. There is a time to socialize after the meeting which is not mandatory. Contact details of other AA members who serve as sponsors to help the process of recovery and to help prevent relapses are also given.
Addiction Abuse Family Support
Family support is also an important element to prevent relapse, which happens in 80% of Addiction Abuse cases. Sites such as Med Circle offer information for individuals and for family members and friends on a variety of Addiction and Mental Health disorders. Family Recovery from Addiction and Relapse issues are explained. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, a plan of action can be tailored to the individuals needs that provides a daily support structure and a support network of family, friends and peers that are informed about the nature of Addiction Abuse.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Opioid Drug abuse is increasing. It is estimated 9% of the population will abuse this drug during their lifetime. Opioid abuse can cause low blood pressure, induce a Coma and cause breathing difficulties. Anti-Anxiety and Sedative medication can also cause low blood pressure and breathing problems and cause withdrawal seizures. Stimulants can cause high temperatures and high blood pressure, tremors, hallucinations and being paranoid. Some drug abuse risk factors for prescription drugs include previous drug abuse, smoking, drinking, family history of drug abuse, certain mental health conditions, peer pressure, access to prescription medications and not knowing the dangers of abusing the prescription drug.
Addiction Psychiatry is a growing field due to the increasing substance abuse. Both illegal substances and prescription drugs can be deadly from use and during withdrawal. A high number of those with mental illness issues also have addiction issues. Addiction Psychiatry professional support can offer an inclusive approach for the dual diagnosis aspect of Addiction Abuse. This along with family and peer support can help create a long term solution.
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