What is the job of an Addiction Specialist?

Addiction specialist


Firstly, an Addiction Specialist is a professional who diagnoses and treats addiction problems. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances toxic to health, for instance. Their job description also covers the psychiatric and physical well-being of the patient. 

Societies all over the world today have people given to all kinds of substance abuse. The reasons for this are peer pressure and dysfunctional homes, amongst other things. That’s why there is a large scope for an addiction specialist to exhibit professionalism and show they care.

A scenario like this is the reason for a career like Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors. Therefore, an Addiction Specialist falls under this career category.

What’s more, his or her job involves helping people with addiction to alcohol and drugs. It involves diagnosis, psychotherapy, and drug therapy. It also involves a lot of interviews, counseling, and follow-up programs. So, a professional in medicine or psychology can take up this field as an area of specialty.

To find out more about this profession of selfless service to humanity, keep reading.

Who is an Addiction Specialist?

In most settings, Addiction Specialists are medical doctors and psychiatrists. They go further to obtain a specialty in Addiction Therapy. In fact, other addiction workers are mostly counselors. This is because they don’t have the expertise to diagnose and treat patients.

In other settings, people with a degree in Addiction or Psychology can practice. However, this is after obtaining a Master’s in Counseling. Meanwhile, medics are required to obtain a Doctorate in Psychology or Psychiatrists to practice. 

These professionals work in hospitals, healthcare centers, Rehabilitation centers, and the like.

Responsibilities of an Addiction Specialist

The duties of Addiction Specialists include, but are not limited to:

  • Evaluating patient’s addiction problems.
  • Counseling and educating patient relatives.
  • Diagnosing a patient’s particular conditions.
  • Developing treatment based on a patient’s unique presentation. Also based on clinical experience and patient history.
  • Ensuring adequate documentation of every process for every patient.
  • Attending clinical meetings and conferences.
  • Evaluating the patient’s progress to check if it’s in line with treatment goals.
  • Modifying treatment plans according to changes in outcome.
  • Ensuring adequate follow-up of patients after discharge.
  • Teaching and training junior staff, interns, and students.
  • Carrying out public enlightenment programs on alcohol and drug addiction.
  • Working together with other health care professionals. This is to ensure the conduction of the right tests. Also to ensure the administration of the right medications.

Qualifications for practice as an Addiction Specialist.

To practice as an Addiction Specialist in the US, the following are necessary:

  • A BSc in Medicine, Psychiatry, or Psychology.
  • An undergraduate degree in Addiction studies.
  • An MSc in Psychology, Psychiatry, or Counseling.

For Physicians, board certification in Addiction studies from:

  • AOA, American Osteopathic Association.
  • ABAM, American Board of Addiction Medicine.
  • ABPM, American Board of Preventive Medicine.
  • ABPN, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Other skills required for practice include:

  • Analytic skills
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Good communication skills
  • Good human relationship skills
  • Counseling skills
  • Diagnostic skills.


What’s more, in the United States, an Addiction Specialist earns $49,950 per annum on average. This is dependent on the level of experience, education, as well as the facility where he or she works. For example, top earners can earn up to $76,080 a year or more.

Work Environment

In addition, Addiction Specialists may work up to 40 hours a week on a shift or call pattern. This is inclusive of night duties and weekend duties. In some facilities, however, it may be less.

Their work environment may involve them traveling or going to patient homes. However, this is for follow-up visits.

Job Opportunities

An Addiction Specialist can work in the following places:

  • Government Agencies.
  • Hospitals.
  • Detoxification Centers.
  • Rehabilitation Centers.
  • Health Care Centers.
  • In-Patient Treatment Centers.


To sum up, Addiction Specialists are important people in the world today. They have given themselves to a needed profession. Helping people get back to a good state of mind is not just prestigious work. It is a form of social development. When people with addiction problems are helped out of such a state, they will not want to go back. These professionals help greatly in improving society and giving the youth hope for a better life.

A career in this field is a noble choice. It is an avenue to contribute one’s quota to the country’s development. In addition, it is a profession that one will always be proud of. If you have a passion for transforming lives, you should consider this. 

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