Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

Handy tips….

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to…

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