First Nationally Accredited Residency Programs for Addiction Medicine Show Change in Thinking about Addiction

The introduction of the first nationally accredited residency programs in addition medicine, which began on July 1, demonstrates a change in thinking about the roots of addiction, experts tell The New York Times. The first group of medical residents will start training in 10 newly accredited addiction medicine residencies around the country.

The residencies demonstrate that addiction is increasingly being thought of as a disease, according to the article. The goal of the program is to establish addiction medicine as a medical specialty, alongside other specialties such as oncology or pediatrics.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow told the newspaper, “In the past, the specialty was very much targeted toward psychiatrists.  It’s a gap in our training program.”

The American Board of Addiction Medicine is providing the new national accreditation. The group hopes to have the program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. That would allow addiction residencies to qualify as a “primary” residency, which a doctor could enter immediately upon graduating from medical school.

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    Ron duBois

    July 15, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    I’m trying to stay away from the the term “addiction” since the real illness is deterioration of the brain’s ability to produce endorphins endogenously. There must be a better term to describe the condition of the brain that requires an exoginous substance like methadone in order to restore and maintain brain chemistry balance. . .

    Thank you,


    Ron duBois, Professor Emeritus
    612 S. Kings St.
    Oklahoma, 74074
    Phone: 405- 377-2524

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    July 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    To understand addiction as a medical specialty is to ignore its psychological, social and spiritual aspects. As a social worker for the past 16 y ears in a Medicaid-funded residential program whose clients come overwhelmingly through the criminal justice system, it is my observation that our clients–not patients–rely on intoxicants, violence, sex and excitement to fight off the effects of a profound sense of disconnection. Addiction, ultimately, is not about a simple biochemical dependency. It goes much deeper and must be treated as such.

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    July 11, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Those that are addicted to alcohol and drugs are not mentally ill and do not need to be in the mental health system or have a psychiatrist.

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