What Is Addiction Psychiatry?

Addiction psychiatry involves treating individuals living with chemical dependencies, such as drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances. Read on to learn more about the addiction psychiatry field. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Addiction Psychiatry Defined

Addiction psychiatry is a scientific field that involves treating patients' chemical drug dependencies through both psychological therapy and medication. Since addiction psychiatrists can prescribe medications, you must complete medical school, finish a residency and receive training on psychological principles before you can start a career in this field.

Addiction psychiatry practitioners attempt to address the underlying psychological roots of a person's particular addiction. People can become addicted to a variety of substances; possible dependencies that you might study as an addiction psychiatrist include drug, alcohol and nicotine addictions.

Important Facts About This Career

Median Salary (2014) $181,880 (psychiatrists)
Education Doctoral or professional degree
Key Skills Detail oriented, listening skills, compassion, patience, problem-solving skills
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 18% (physicians and surgeons)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Drug and Alcohol Addictions

Addiction psychiatry deals with treatment methods for those living with drug and alcohol addiction. Treatment can be problematic, because when people are under the influence of drugs, their brain chemistry becomes altered. If you become an addiction psychiatry researcher, you'll attempt to find new molecular compounds that interact with natural chemicals in the brain to curb the cravings for particular drugs.

You'll also learn how patients can benefit from community-based groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction psychiatrists can treat both adolescents and adults, as well as people with health complications related to their addiction, such as HIV, hepatitis and infections. If you enter addiction psychiatry, you'll explore the reasons behind a person's substance abuse problem, such as depression, trauma, stress or strained family life. You'll also study the genetic components behind patients' predispositions to certain addictions.

Other Substance Abuse Addictions

Addiction psychiatrists don't just treat people's addictions to alcohol and illicit substances. New research is being conducted on medical and psychotherapy solutions for those looking to combat nicotine addiction. If you become an addiction psychiatrist, you might explore ways to prevent relapses after patients attempt to cut their nicotine consumption.

Another growing problem in the population is prescription drug addiction. Addiction psychiatrists must be wary of prescribing medications for these dependencies and instead look at other treatment options, such as counseling or behavior modification therapy.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Capella University

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