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Addicted Doctors

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Addicted Doctors

Massachusetts General Hospital publishes a top-notch magazine called PROTO.Proto.jpg The tag line is Dispatches From the Frontiers of Medicine. I know about this publication because I wrote one of the first essays that appeared on the back page, which is called “Post-Op”. This page takes freelance submissions like a couple of other venues I’ve mentioned. (Note to self: I should begin starring the posts that offer freelance opportunities for all the writers out there, or mark them another way so they’re easily found.)

Here’s a description at the end of the column:

First Person originates at the other end of the stethoscope, presenting essays and commentary from patients, consumers and other medical outsiders. [So it’s not a column for doctors or other medical professionals to contribute to.]

Proto invites your contributions; please send ideas to the editor.
(The email is 

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the title of this Add category post—Addicted Doctors. My essay wasn’t about addiction, but last winter an essay appeared from a woman married to a doctor who suffered from addiction. The title was Occupational Hazard. She wrote about how her husband had gone undiagnosed by other doctors for years, and how mad she was about that. Then she realized that doctors are not always trained to recognize the signs, unfortunately.

Which brings me to the good news in a recent New York Times article:

10 medical institutions have just introduced the first accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, where doctors who have completed medical school and a primary residency will be able to spend a year studying the relationship between addiction and brain chemistry.anonymous-doctors-5-17-11.jpg

The more doctors that become educated about addiction, the more knowledge will be spread. And hopefully, the more people will be helped.

In response to the NYT article, the president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the chairman of the Council on Addiction Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association wrote a joint letter to the editor and said:

“Your article correctly notes the dearth of well-trained physicians in addiction, which the new addiction medicine residencies are designed to remedy.

But make no mistake: the addiction medicine residencies are not pioneering new ideas but building upon the clinical principles articulated in well-established addiction psychiatry residencies.”



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