AMA Source recently published an article noting that patients with substance use disorders may experience stigma that can interfere with treatment options.
But when substance use disorders are recognized and treated as a chronic disease, that stigma can be reduced.
The article goes on to note that treating patients with substance use disorders in a family medicine setting can be a unique situation because physicians are often treating other members of the patient’s family as well. At first, patients may be reluctant to discuss substance use but once the condition is out in the open, having the family involved can be beneficial.
And since many primary care physicians (especially those in family medicine) know many of their patients very well and have established a long-term relationship. That can be advantageous when a patient begins to show signs of a substance use disorder.
Once the physician and patient have had a conversation about substance use and have determined that it would be best to seek treatment, the primary care setting can be a great place for that treatment to occur. Some patients feel more comfortable when their substance use disorder is treated in the same way as any other medical condition, which can also reduce the stigma.
The article concludes that “The goal is to normalize it, [Substance abuse disorder] is just something that happens, it’s another chronic medical problem and should be treated that way.
Source: AMA Source