Psychiatrists who are trained in addiction are in a unique position to identify concurrent psychiatric and substance use problems in individuals seeking treatment for either or both conditions. Given the reciprocal impact of psychiatric and substance use disorders upon one another, there is a critical need for specialists trained in the diagnosis and treatment of both conditions.

Knowledge

With the recent explosion in scientific knowledge in the area of substance abuse, growing sophistication in our understanding of the factors that contribute to substance use disorders has led to therapeutic strategies tailored to specific subgroups of those who misuse substances. Novel pharmacological strategies have been developed and are being implemented to target individuals for whom affective, attentional or anxiety symptoms pose a particular vulnerability to the development of substance use disorder or dependence.

Opportunity

Addiction Psychiatry has ample job opportunities. This field has a shortage of specialists in many clinical settings, and psychiatrists trained in the treatment of substance misuse will have a range of attractive choices for a practice setting.

The patient population is undeserved, and an increase in mandates for addiction treatment from federal and local governments and third party payers has led to a demand for credentialed addiction specialists. So, multiple opportunities exist in both the public and private sectors.

Addiction Psychiatry provides career opportunities in all fields. Particularly promising are child psychiatry, consultation/liaison psychiatry and forensic psychiatry.

Research

For psychiatrists interested in research, the addiction field offers a wealth of unexplored areas. Early-career psychiatrists entering the field of substance use disorders will have a wealth of opportunities for pursuing research funding. Clinical research in the field of Addiction Psychiatry has increased federal funding in the past several years. This trend shows every promise of continuing, therefore research psychiatrists working in the field of Addiction Psychiatry are in a position to reap the benefits of this enhanced support.

Rewarding

Similar to the treatment of other psychiatric disorders, clinical interventions for substance use disorders are effective. This work offers clinicians the opportunity to help patients lead productive, happier lives. Such clinical service is tremendously gratifying and brings many rewards.

Overwhelming data show that treatment for addiction promotes less substance use, better psychological and physical health, and improved social functioning. Cost-offset analyses show clear (long-term) economic benefits to providing addiction treatment.

Certification

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. offers certification in the subspecialty of Addiction Psychiatry to those psychiatrists who meet its criteria for experience and knowledge. All applicants for certification are required to submit documentation of successful completion of one year of ACGME-approved residency training in Addiction Psychiatry beginning no sooner than the PGY-V level.

Specific information and application procedures can be obtained from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology by calling 847-945-7900 or visiting the ABPN Web site (www.abpn.com).

Certification Comparison

The subspecialty Board Certification in Addiction Psychiatry is administered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) while the subspecialty Board Certification in Addiction Medicine is administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Both ABPN and ABPM are Member Boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) governs all accredited training programs (residencies and fellowships) and also recognizes both subspecialty Board Certifications. Board Certified psychiatrists who have completed a one-year ACGME-accredited Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship (PGY-V level) can sit for the ABPN initial certification examination in Addiction Psychiatry. Since the ABPM subspecialty Board Certification in Addiction Medicine is new as of 2018, Board Certified psychiatrists and other Board-Certified physicians may sit for the ABPM initial certification examination in Addiction Medicine if they meet certain eligibility requirements. More information on Addiction Medicine Board Certification can be obtained here: ABPN Addiction Medicine. More information on Addiction Psychiatry Board Certification can be obtained here: ABPN Addiction Psychiatry.