What is Addiction Psychiatry?

Addiction Psychiatry focuses on the evaluation and treatment of individuals with substance use disorders, which frequently co-occur with other psychiatric and medical disorders.

What is the educational pathway to becoming an Addiction Psychiatrist?

Addiction Psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry. Following general psychiatry residency training, Addiction Psychiatrists complete a one- or two-year fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry. One year fellowships focus on clinical training. Two-year fellowships focus on clinical and research training. A list of ACGME accredited fellowships can be found here.

Are Addiction Psychiatrists board certified?

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties, governs the certification of the subspecialty of addiction psychiatry. Candidates for Addiction Psychiatry subspecialty certification must: 1) complete an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited general psychiatry training program; 2) complete an ACGME Addiction Psychiatry training program; 3) obtain board certification in psychiatry prior to taking the Addiction Psychiatry certification examination from the ABPN; and 4) pass the Addiction Psychiatry certification examination from the ABPN.

What are the differences and similarities between the subspecialties of Addiction Medicine€ and Addiction Psychiatry?

Addiction Medicine and Addiction Psychiatry are the sister medical specialties that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with substance-related and addictive disorders. Therefore, there is significant overlap between these two medical sub-specialties in terms of patients and organizations served, clinical policies and guideline development efforts, and local and national advocacy interests. There are some significant structural and organizational differences, though, between the two subspecialties that are worth describing. Addiction Psychiatry became an ABMS subspecialty in the U.S. in 1993, and since that time board-certified/eligible psychiatrists have been eligible to undertake fellowship training through any of the now 47 Addiction Psychiatry fellowships. Upon completion of Addiction Psychiatry fellowship, candidates are then eligible to sit for the ABPN-administered board examination in Addiction Psychiatry in order to complete their requirements for obtaining board certification in Addiction Psychiatry. The subspecialty of Addiction Medicine, on the other hand, was officially recognized by ABMS and ACGME in 2016. Physicians with primary certification from any ABMS board are eligible to take the Addiction Medicine certification exam, which is now administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Addiction Medicine fellowships originally accredited by The Addiction Medicine Foundation, as well as new fellowship programs, are now applying to ACGME under an accreditation process that opened in 2018. Many addiction-focused psychiatrists have chosen to be boarded in BOTH addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine, and many physicians regardless of primary training remain active in professional organizations that serve both specialties (e.g., AAAP and ASAM). While it may be academic to parse out given the similarities and shared goals stated above, addiction psychiatry nonetheless maintains a professional identity that centers on the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental illness and substance-related and addictive disorders

Why choose Addiction Psychiatry as a career?

The practice of Addiction Psychiatry affords opportunities in clinical, research, and administrative career development.

What role can the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry play in my career?

AAAP is the only professional organization in the U.S. focused on the subspecialty of Addiction Psychiatry and is an educational and knowledge resource for members and the general public. AAAP’s annual meeting is a great way to obtain knowledge and training, as well as network with Addiction Psychiatrists from across the U.S. AAAP provides members with training activities for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit towards Addiction Psychiatry board recertification.  AAAP offers educational products for clinicians and trainees at all stages of training.

What would an addiction fellowship add in terms of job opportunities?

The addiction field in general and in particular Addiction Psychiatry are in need of expert physicians, several faculty and staff-physician positions for addiction psychiatry remain open for several months or more every year and some go unfilled for more due to the high demand and mow number of specialized physicians relative to other sub-specialties.

Are their resources for Addiction Psychiatrists to refer once they are in their own practices?

Yes, there are many resources available to practicing Addiction Psychiatrist. One such resource is Professional Risk Management Services, Inc. Go to www.prms.com to learn more.