doctor and patient

The only person who can truly destroy your recovery is you. That being said, the choice of treatment does play a role. Most will agree that support meetings, a sponsor, not going back to your old bar or drug dealer are all important components. But what about the prescriber? Does the doctor, etc matter? I would argue the answer is a very emphatic YES! In this article, I will provide some suggestions about what to look for in a prescriber. Admittedly, many of these are intangibles that you will undoubtedly come to experience but I will also propose some things that can simply be found out through a google search.


Before you even schedule, know that when it comes to addictions, training matters. Someone with significant addictions experience is more likely to have the background to offer you the most evidence-based care. Providers who have gone through additional training to treat people who suffer from addictions are also [ideally] more equipped with the training necessary to see past the addiction alone. They have chosen to study and learn more about something that sadly, most providers simply think of as a choice and a burden. I don’t mean to suggest that the degree is all that matters, but if the training background is to simply send you to AA, then why see a specialist?


Another important factor is personality. Can you talk to him/her? When you start to discuss what struggles you’ve had, do they have the prescription written before you get past the first sentence? Are they quick to diagnose or can they be patient to see who lies below?


People are often surprised that they feel different when they are first getting sober. They shouldn’t be and neither should your provider. Is the provider thorough enough to see through the addiction? I don’t need to tell you that many people who suffer from addictions present with a variety of mood and anxiety symptoms. Many of these go away in time. Does the provider take the opportunity and the time to figure out what lies underneath or do they just offer a medication and diagnosis for every symptom you mention?

doctor and patient


Along with excessive diagnosing comes excessive medications. As recovery begins to set in, much of the beginning time can feel like a rampage of anxieties and emotions. This makes sense since every pattern and behavior is being expected to change. Medicating away every single feeling is for many what led to an addiction initially and simply having a prescription now does not change that fact. This is NOT meant to be an anti-medication tirade though. Many individuals with addictions do have other mental health diagnoses that warrant proper and careful treatment though and this can be achieved through recovery activities, therapy and judicial use of medications.


A final piece to consider is whether or not the provider is flexible. Does s/he work with you to find a treatment regimen that works or do they tell you the options are static? This is not to say that a prescriber who refuses to give you Xanax or Adderall is wrong. In fact, this action should be lauded. But do they have a “three strikes and you’re out rule?” Do they discharge and tell you to “come back when you’re ready”? If you need to stay on Suboxone do they support your decision or tell you it’s just “replacing one drug for another”? It’s ever important to find a provider who will work with you where you are. Find someone who you won’t be afraid to tell them you made a mistake or you can’t do an IOP before you go to outpatient because you have a job or a family. Be aware that the relationship is a give and take on both sides. If people are able to work effectively with their providers than success is inevitable. Good luck and remember – “It’s not easy to find a doctor.”

Need Help for Substance Abuse?

Addiction in any form is never a pretty thing. Lives are ruined and chaos is unshackled as we begin to fixate on whatever chemicals can be tossed our way. This can go on for some time unless we listen to our inner intuition telling us that everything is not okay. Justifying our alcoholic tendencies will only keep up in the misery for longer. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need substance abuse treatment, please call 1-855-49hills or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.