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Addiction (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care


  • Some people are able to recover from an addiction without help. However, it is thought that most people need assistance. Many times medical, psychiatric, or psychological assistance is needed. With treatment and support, many individuals are able to stop their drug abuse.


  • If there are known or suspected health problems related to substance abuse, it is wise to consult with a primary-care physician for a full history and physical exam. Examples include assessing for liver damage in advanced cases of alcohol addiction or dental damage due to methamphetamine abuse.


  • When talking with a loved one about addiction, having a third party present who is professionally trained and knowledgeable about addiction may be helpful. Being in a relationship with a drug abuser can change the relationship and lead to a decreased ability to communicate with each other.

Questions to Ask the Doctor

If you or a loved one is suffering from drug abuse, it can be hard to talk to a medical professional about it. It is helpful to find a doctor who is familiar and comfortable dealing with people who suffer from drug abuse. Unfortunately, some in the medical profession suffer from the same misperceptions and false ideas as many in the general public. However, most medical professionals do not have this prejudice and can direct you to local resources for help. After finding someone with whom you can work, some of the following questions may be helpful:

    Can you test my liver or kidneys to assess for damage?

    Are there other body systems that my drug use may have affected?

    Are there any medications that may be helpful in treating my addiction?

    Where can my family get support and information about drug abuse?
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