Substance Abuse Specialist

Carty Addiction Medicine and Internal Medicine Clinic

Addiction Medicine & Internal Medicine located in Winston Salem, NC

If you have a substance abuse problem, Brian Carty, MD, MSPH, of the Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic in Winston-Salem, North Carolina can help. Dr. Carty is an addiction specialist who helps many people recover successfully from substance abuse, so call the clinic today, or book an appointment online.

Substance Abuse Q & A

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse occurs when you take a drug or other product, prescribed or recreational, for euphoria or to treat pain or another problem. 

If taken regularly, a number of drugs and other substances can then cause dependence, cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped and decreased social, family, and work function.

Regular substance use can lead to serious medical problems, family breakups, job loss, homelessness, and criminal behavior.

There are eight defined substances most likely to be the subject of abuse:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cannabis
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco

There is a genetic predisposition to addiction. Children of parents with addiction are more likely to have substance use disorders, and patients with one substance use disorder are more likely to have problems with other addictive substances.

At the Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic, the main types of substance abuse problems encountered are opioid addiction and alcohol abuse, but the clinic has expertise in treating all forms of substance abuse.

How do I recover from a substance abuse disorder?

The key factor in recovery from a substance abuse disorder is to want to overcome your problem.

Although you’re aware of the harm you’re doing to yourself by continuing harmful substance use, some patients may not have reached the stage of commitment to quitting. 

If you find yourself in this position, talking about your situation in the safe, supportive environment of the Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic may help you move on to the next stage.  

For patients who are not ready to commit to stopping substance use and beginning treatment, there may be risk-reducing strategies to adopt until the stage of commitment is reached.  

Examples would be, for patients who continue to inject drugs, hepatitis B and A vaccination, preexposure HIV prophylaxis for patients who share needles, naloxone prescriptions for patients, and friends to use in case of an opioid overdose, among other approaches.

The path to recovery from substance abuse isn’t always straightforward, and relapses can occur, but a comprehensive treatment plan and support network can dramatically improve lives when people are free of substance abuse.

How are substance abuse disorders treated?

The treatment for each type of disorder varies depending on the patient and the abused substance. 

For example, the Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic’s medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for opioid addiction uses the drug Suboxone to help wean patients from opioids, prevent withdrawal symptoms, cravings and relapse. 

Counseling and behavior therapies are helpful for many patients. For some substance abuse disorders, there are medications that help with substance cessation and prevention of relapse.  

Examples are buprenorphine for opioids, naltrexone for alcohol, bupropion, and varenicline for tobacco.

Treatment is tailored to the individual patient, since you may respond better to some therapies and less well to others. Coexisting medical and psychiatric problems are also diagnosed and treated to improve your well being.

If you’re contemplating taking action to rid yourself of a substance abuse problem, call the clinic today, or book an appointment online.