Your Recovery
Starts Here.

What is an Addiction Specialist?

Drug & Alcohol Treatment in Costa Mesa, CA | Resurgence Behavioral Health

An addiction specialist, or an addiction medicine physician, provides medical care for persons with an addiction and those with substance-related health conditions. In addition, they can also render care to family members affected by another member’s use or addiction. These professionals have demonstrated education, experience, and skills needed to provide care and treatment to substance abusers. This is why we made it a goal to have all our treatment programs developed under the guidance of an Orange County addiction specialist.

Addiction specialists are trained to offer nuanced treatments to patients that often involve the physical, as well as the psychiatric aspects of treatment. Addiction specialists may be involved in detoxification procedures, rehabilitation, harm reduction, relapse prevention, individual and group therapy sessions, halfway house oversight, withdrawal treatment symptoms, acute intervention, and treatment of infectious diseases associated with addiction.

Addiction Specialist: Educational Track

Bachelor’s Degree

Becoming an addiction specialist is no different from other specializations. Candidates must complete at least three years of an undergraduate degree with special attention to science-related courses and lab work required for acceptance into medical school and successful testing on the MCAT.

Medical School

The candidate will need to complete medical school, which consists of four years of study. The first two years covers the foundations of medical work, while the remaining two focuses on patient care and rotations.


All aspiring physicians must complete a three-year residency. This phase will be based on the candidate’s chosen specialty and the requirements of a fellowship, which makes up the next step.


Doctors learn specialized skills necessary for their medical specialty during a fellowship. This stage often lasts between one and three years.

Addiction Medicine Certification

Addiction specialists are often medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists certified in addiction medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM), American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

Addiction Specialist: Career Opportunities

There are an estimated 3,000 physicians in the US who are certified in addiction medicine. It is also estimated that over 20 million people require treatment for addiction across the country, which indicates the high demand for practitioners in this field. Job prospects, as expected, are considered positive. Salary prospects are also good as they are projected to improve in tandem with the increase in the demand for more specialists. In general, addiction specialists are reported to have high job satisfaction owing to a lot of freedom they have when it comes to their schedule.

Addiction specialists can work in a variety of settings, each providing a different salary range. These settings include ambulatory care, acute care, residential and long-term facilities, and psychiatry.

Addiction Specialist: Resources

More information about addiction specialists can be provided by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, Association for Addiction Professionals, and National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.


Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.