For Residents

Career Choices: Addiction psychiatry

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Dr. Ahmed: What was your fellowship experience like, and what should one consider when choosing a program?

Dr. Stanciu: I completed my fellowship training through Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, and the experience was tremendously valuable. In evaluating programs, one of the starting points is whether you have interest in a formal research track, because several programs include an optional year for that. Most programs tend to provide exposure to the Veterans Affairs system. The 1 year should provide you with broad exposure to all possible settings, all addictive disorders and patient populations, and all treatment modalities, in addition to rigorous didactic sessions. The ideal program should include rotations through methadone treatment centers, intensive outpatient programs, pain and interdisciplinary clinics, detoxification units, and centers for treatment of adolescent and young adults, as well as general medical settings and infectious disease clinics. There should also be close collaboration with psychologists who can provide training in evidence-based therapeutic modalities. During this year, it is vital to expand your knowledge of the ethical and legal regulations of treatment programs, state and federal requirements, insurance complexities, and requirements for privacy and protection of health information. The size of these programs can vary significantly, which may limit the one-on-one time devoted to your training, which is something I personally valued. My faculty was very supportive of academic endeavors, providing guidance, funding, and encouragement for attending and presenting at conferences, publishing papers, and other academic pursuits. Additionally, faculty should be current with emerging literature and willing to develop or implement new protocols and evaluate new pharmacologic therapies.

Dr. Ahmed: What are some of the career options and work settings for addiction psychiatrists?

Dr. Stanciu: Addiction psychiatrists work in numerous settings and various capacities. They can provide subspecialty care directly by seeing patients in outpatient clinics or inpatient addiction treatment centers for detoxification or rehabilitation, or they can work with dual-diagnosis populations in inpatient units. The expansion of telemedicine also holds promise for a role through virtual services. Indirectly, they can serve as a resource for expertise in the field through consultations in medical and psychiatric settings, or through policy making by working with the legislature and public health departments. Additionally, they can help create and integrate new knowledge into practice and educate future generations of physicians and the public.

Dr. Ahmed: What are some of the prevalent disorders and reasons for consultation that you encounter in your daily practice?

Continue to: Dr. Stanciu's response...

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