Medicine to Treat Addictions as Physical, Not Mental

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 08:43 AM

Ten medical institutions recently introduced the first accredited residency programs in addiction medicine — a move that shows the medical establishment is increasingly viewing substance abuse as a physical diagnosis.

“This is a first step toward bringing recognition, respectability, and rigor to addiction medicine,” David Withers, who oversees the new residency program at the Marworth Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Waverly, Pa., tells the New York Times.

The programs allow doctors who have finished medical school and a primary residency to study the relationship between brain chemistry and addiction, the newspaper reports. The objective of the programs is to make addiction medicine a standard specialty, similar to pediatrics or oncology. Patients with addictions to nicotine, alcohol, prescriptions drugs, and more will be treated.

The medical establishment began regarding addiction as a medical disease rather than solely a psychological one when scientists discovered 15 years ago that drug addiction yielded physical changes in the brain.

With that finding, “the management of folks with addiction becomes very much like the management of other chronic diseases, such as asthma, hypertension, or diabetes,” said Dr. Daniel Alford, who oversees the program at Boston University Medical Center. “It’s hard necessarily to cure people, but you can certainly manage the problem to the point where they are able to function” through a combination of therapy and medication.

To read the complete New York Times story, Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

1Like our page
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 08:43 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved