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FAQS – Frequently Asked Questions

What is an addiction medicine physician?

“The addiction medicine physician provides medical care within the bio-psycho-social framework for persons with addiction, for the individual with substance-related health conditions, for persons who manifest unhealthy substance use, and for family members whose health and functioning are affected by another‟s substance use or addiction. Board-certified addiction medicine physicians are also board-certified in another medical specialty, prior to meeting requirements for board certification by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

“The addiction medicine physician is specifically trained in a wide range of prevention, evaluation and treatment modalities addressing substance use and addiction in ambulatory care settings, acute care and long-term care facilities, psychiatric settings, and residential facilities. Addiction medicine specialists often offer treatment for patients with addiction or unhealthy substance use who have co-occurring general medical and psychiatric conditions.

“The addiction medicine physician is a key member of the health care team and is trained to coordinate and provide consultation services for other physicians and to use community resources when appropriate. Some addiction medicine physicians limit their practice to patients with addiction or other patterns of unhealthy substance use. Others focus their practice on patients within their initial medical specialty who have substance-related health conditions. Addiction medicine physicians work in clinical medicine, public health, educational, and research settings to advance the prevention and treatment of addiction and substance-related health conditions and to improve the health and functioning of persons with unhealthy substance use or who are affected family members of unhealthy substance users.” Scope of Practice of Addiction Medicine, March 11, 2010; Copyright 2010, The ABAM Foundation, Inc;

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ABAM offers a Transitional Maintenance of Certification program for its current diplomates and a public listing of physicians who hold active ABAM certification status. In March, 2016 the American Board of Medical Specialties formally recognized addiction medicine as a multi-specialty subspecialty. Future certification examinations in addiction medicine will be administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.