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Acad Psychiatry. 2018 Oct;42(5):642-647. doi: 10.1007/s40596-018-0950-2. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

Addictions Training in General Psychiatry Training Programs: Current Gaps and Barriers.

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Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.



The primary purpose of this article is to review the findings of a 2017 survey of psychiatry training program directors to identify current gaps and barriers in addictions training in general adult psychiatry programs.


The American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT) Taskforce on Addictions was created in 2017 with the aim of determining what programs need to improve addictions training in psychiatry residency programs and identifying ways to meet these needs. A 23-item confidential, anonymous online survey was developed and disseminated to AADPRT members who were general psychiatry program directors using the AADPRT Listserv (nā€‰=ā€‰200).


Eighty-five programs (42%) responded to the survey. Programs reported that addictions training often takes place in general psychiatry settings rather than specialty settings. Curriculum content and clinical experiences varied substantially between programs. The lack of addictions-trained faculty members was identified as an impediment to providing more comprehensive training.


While a lack of advanced training in addictions among faculty may be a limiting factor, developing expertise through faculty development activities and nationally disseminating model curricula can help improve national addictions training. Future goals include development of a strategic plan for improving addictions training, including an outline of a developmental approach across training to the acquisition of milestones-based competencies that apply to addictions assessment and treatment.


Addiction; Education; Psychiatry; Substance use; Training

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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