Rethinking Addiction

If drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, then shouldn’t your general practitioner be able to recognize the symptoms, diagnose the problem and prescribe treatment? Of course not, some people say. Addiction is a disease of the mind, not the body, and hence best treated by psychiatrists and counselors. But doctors realize more and more that addiction is a physical disease–one that causes real, permanent changes in the brain–and that it requires prolonged medical treatment. Now, 10 schools are offering the first-ever residency programs in addiction medicine, so doctors can learn how to treat addiction like they would other chronic diseases. My story in Monday’s NYTimes, Rethinking Addiction’s Roots, and its Treatment.

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