As you embark on your recovery journey, you may be looking for an addiction practitioner who can help you along the way. Everyone’s path to addiction is unique, and no two people will recover in the same way. The help you need will be specific to your needs, circumstances, relationships, and goals.
It therefore makes sense that not all people with addictions are looking for the same kinds of professionals. Some people know that what they need is family therapy; others are drawn to creative therapies that utilize music, art, drama, and dance. And for some people, the answer lies in a professional who is trained to look at addiction from both a medical and a psychological perspective.
What Is An Addiction Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that have a physical and mental health component. Examples include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and some cases of depression and anxiety.
Addiction psychiatry is a specialty that recognizes the devastating impact substance abuse can have on the body and mind. Addiction often coexists with mental health problems, and it is important to address these during rehab. However, substance abuse is hard on the body. Not only do the drugs themselves have physical effects, people with addictions frequently neglect aspects of their physical health, such as exercise and proper nutrition. Mental health care during rehab needs to be paired with a plan to heal and strengthen the body.
An addiction psychiatrist has the training and expertise to help you balance your physical and mental health needs as you go through rehab. Specific tasks include the following:
- Providing medical supervision during withdrawal
- Ordering and interpreting blood tests, imaging, and other laboratory tests
- Prescribing medication and monitoring its use and effectiveness
- Providing addiction treatment in the form of talk therapy and other methods
- Evaluating and prescribing alternative medications for people addicted to prescription drugs
- Monitoring a patient’s ability to perform essential daily living activities
Finding The Right Addiction Psychiatrist In Toronto
One of the benefits of living in a big city like Toronto is that there is an abundance of excellent addiction psychiatrists for you to choose from. The problem, of course, is that too much choice can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is already dealing with the challenges of addiction. Here are some tips to bear in mind as you embark on your search.
“The Best” Looks Different For Everyone
One of the most important things to remember is that the addiction psychiatrist who is a perfect fit for your friend or neighbour may not be great for you. We are all different, and sometimes we “click” with some people more than others.
Getting word-of-mouth recommendations from people who had experiences with addiction psychiatrists is fine, but bear in mind that a poor recommendation does not necessarily mean that the psychiatrist is bad. It could simply be that the individual was not able to establish a good connection with the practitioner.
Recommendations Can Be Helpful
That being said, recommendations can be helpful. If you have an established relationship with your family doctor, they are likely to know you well enough to know which addiction psychiatrists would be a good fit for you. If you don’t have a doctor, talk to your local hospital, detox facility, or safe injection site about recommendations.
Recommendations from friends or family members can be helpful, but ask them to provide reasons why they are recommending or not recommending a particular person.
Credentials Can Be Viewed Online
Medical and psychological services are highly regulated in Ontario. You can look up the record of any medical doctor, including an addiction psychiatrist, at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). This record includes where the doctor obtained their education, what hospitals they have privileges at, the status of their medical registration, and any disciplinary proceedings that have been initiated.
It’s OK To Interview A Prospective Practitioner
By using the services of an addiction psychiatrist, you are entrusting them with some deep, sensitive information about yourself. It is best to figure out early in the process whether you and the psychiatrist are a good fit for each other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they operate and what a typical session looks like. A good addiction psychiatrist will welcome these questions: no mental health professional wants to put a patient at risk by forcing a relationship that is not a good fit.
Remember That Trust Takes Time To Build
Very few people can form a bond of trust with someone they just met. Friendships and relationships build over time as the people get to know each other, and the doctor-patient relationship is no different. Even once you have established that you can work with your new addiction psychiatrist, you need to remember that it may take a bit of time to start seeing results. For the first few sessions, you and your psychiatrist will be getting to know each other, learning how to communicate effectively with each other, and figuring out how the process will work. This is a normal part of any therapeutic relationship.
If, after several sessions, you feel that your treatment is stagnant, talk to your addiction psychiatrist. They cannot fix a problem that they are not aware of. In some cases, you and your psychiatrist may come to a mutual agreement that a different practitioner would be better for you. But a lot of times, it will simply be a case of changing something about the treatment sessions.
If you are in the thick of an addiction, it can be extremely difficult to find the help you need – or even to know exactly what kind of help you need. At Addiction Rehab Toronto, you do not need to worry about that. We offer customized addiction treatment programs that start with an assessment. During this assessment, we will get to know you and learn about your journey. From there, we will pair you with an addiction psychiatrist who is a good fit for you, and is part of your addiction treatment team. For more information, or to get started on your journey of healing, contact us today.