4 Reasons Discussing Your Addiction with Your Doctor Can Maintain Your Sobriety

4 Reasons Discussing Your Addiction with Your Doctor Can Maintain Your Sobriety

A primary care physician can play a critical role in long-term addiction recovery

Alcohol and drug addictions are a health issue, so it is absolutely essential that you are completely open and honest with your doctor about everything pertaining to your addiction. In many ways, your sobriety depends upon such cooperation and transparency.

Here are four reasons why you should discuss an existing addiction with your primary physician.

  1. Your Doctor Is Your Wellness Advocate

  • Your doctor can warn you about signs of addiction.
  • Your doctor can screen for drug abuse and addiction.
  • Your doctor can help direct you to a quality drug addiction treatment center, if needed.

Some only think about their doctor when they are sick. For too many people, a physician is simply a person who can prescribe antibiotics for an infection or provide a note for a sick-day at work. However, most doctors hope to be much greater help to their patients.

In many ways, your doctor can be your first advocate for health and wellness. Doctors are often eager to help their patients with fitness, dietary guidance, physical activity and even emotional support. So, naturally, a good doctor will want to support you in your addiction recovery.

As your wellness advocate, your doctor can support your recovery by:

  • Recommending dietary changes or vitamin supplements.
  • Watching out for any co-occurring conditions.
  • Suggesting various types of counseling, if needed.
  • Helping you with weight loss or other physical wellness issues.
  • Helping you manage pain, withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

While doctors can offer these services, they can only do so to the degree that patients are forthright in empower them with information that is accurate and up-to-date.1

  1. Your Doctor Can Help You Manage Use of Drugs

One important way your doctor can help you maintain your sobriety is by factoring your addiction information into all prescription drug considerations. Doctors usually have a number of treatment options for any given condition, and these alternatives may include various pharmaceutical products.

Since many of the most commonly used drugs are highly addictive, you would not want to undermine your alcohol, opiate or other chemical dependence due to a prescription you receive for pain after having oral surgery or other medical needs situation. To avoid a substance addiction relapse via a medication prescription, make sure your doctor knows everything about your addiction issues, along with any family history of substance abuse.

As part of physicians’ expert assistance with prescription drug precautions, they can be a primary means of preventing dangerous drug interactions. Some drugs mix poorly with others, but your doctor can ensure that you are safe if you divulge all medications being used. By keeping your doctor informed about any medications you currently use – legal or otherwise –you can avoid tragedies that may result from any toxic drug cocktails.2

  1. Your Doctor Can Help You Watch for Relapse Risks

Doctors can help you avoid many risks, besides controlling the use and mixing of addictive painkillers, antidepressants and other needed medications. By notifying your physician of all addiction or other mental health issues, your doctor may be able to prevent a relapse by watching out for all related risks.

Again, your physician’s ability to assist you depends entirely upon the level of transparency you show. Doctors can keep a watchful eye on situations and symptoms that may bring on a drug abuse relapse, including:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic pain issues
  • Food sensitivities
  • Poorly managed stress
  • Decreased physical activity or mobility
  • Aging issues
  • Diabetes or other diseases

Most professionals recommend a comprehensive checkup by one’s primary physician on an annual basis. These sessions are excellent times to share any developments, feelings, fears, challenges or concerns with your doctor. As you empower your doctor to support your wellness in more and more ways, you may find that you need more than one visit each year.1

  1. Your Doctor Is Dedicated to Your Health…Confidentially

Keep in mind that your primary care doctor is committed to your long-term health and wellness. However, as committed as he is to help you overcome illnesses in the present, it would be prudent to empower him to look out for your future as well. Most doctors can offer preventive tips, emotional support, wellness accountability and fully integrated support plans.

It may help for you to think of your doctor as a “life coach” rather than a troubleshooter. Yes, doctors can help when you get sick, but they are also committed to keeping you well for months and years to come. This kind of partnership depends upon your willingness to keep them informed and to apply the advice they give you. All the support and guidance in the world is worthless if you fail to put it to good use. In other words, drug addicts can get and stay clean if they receive and apply the right strategies.3

Furthermore, keep in mind that doctors are bound by not only a professional code of ethics, but federal laws as well. Confidentiality rules pertaining to alcohol and drug treatment records apply.4

Medical Specialists Stand Ready to Treat Alcohol and Drug Addictions

Regardless of your or your loved one’s substance abuse and/or mental disorder, there are expert, experienced medical specialists available to you immediately, if you just contact them. As a recognized leader in the area of substance use disorders and mental health conditions, we have a 24/7 toll-free line ready to take your call for help. When you contact us, one of our team members will patiently listen to you, respond to your questions and concerns, and offer some positive options for you to choose from. We believe in treating the whole person, so you can count on us for diagnosing your specific needs and addressing them in an effective and efficient manner.

Free and confidential advice will start you on your way to recovery. We can even help you determine how much your insurance coverage will pay for needed services. With a commitment to your health and well-being, you can trust us…for our expertise, our experience and our genuine concern for you.We care…one person at a time.

1“A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64827/ .

2 “Preventing and Recognizing Prescription Drug Abuse”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/preventing-recognizing-prescription-drug-abuse , (November 2014).

3 “Integration of Mental Health/Substance Abuse and Primary Care”, Evidence Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/mhsapc-evidence-report.pdf .

4“Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records”, U.S. Government Publishing Office, http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=b7e8d29be4a2b815c404988e29c06a3e&rgn=div5&view=text&node=42: .