Scott Schappacher reviews the 4th edition of Principles of Addiction Medicine, a text from the American Society of Addiction Medicine which covers the basic scientific principles to pharmacology of addictive substances.

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Book: Principles of Addiction Medicine 4th Edition

Published in April of 2009 many of its contributors are affiliated with leading government agencies that study addiction and its science such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The book is divided into fourteen sections and 106 chapters. Section one discusses the basic science and core concepts of drug addiction. Section two focuses on the pharmacology of abused substances. Section three covers diagnosis, assessment and early intervention. Section four gives the overview of addiction treatment. Section five covers special issues in addiction medicine, e.g. non-medical use of prescription medications. Section six covers management of intoxication and withdrawal. Section seven discusses pharmacological interventions. The remaining sections cover behavioral interventions, recovery programs, medical disorders and complications of addiction, co-occurring addictions and psychiatric disorders.

This text provides a comprehensive overview of the diagnosis and treatment of addictive disorders, as well as the management of co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions. Section two provides great information for the pharmacist searching for in depth information related to the pharmacology of addictive substances. Each chapter in this section is broken down by drug class, pharmacokinetics, physiologic effects, effects on physical health/human performance, and effects with other drugs. Topics include alcohol, non-alcohol sedative hypnotics, opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, other psychostimulants, caffeine, nicotine/tobacco products, cannabinoids, inhalants, and anabolic androgenic steroids. One example of useful information in this text is caffeine content of common foods and medications listed in chart form. This may be helpful in patients with anxiety and panic disorders because acute doses of caffeine above 200mg are more likely to produce negative subjective effects such as increased anxiety, nervousness, and jitteriness. When counseling these types of patients, the pharmacist can easily provide caffeine content of products that they normally consume and let them know they may be more sensitive to the anxiogenic effects of the caffeine. Another example of the helpful information provided in this text includes comprehensive, understandable explanations of pharmacological interventions for cocaine, methamphetamine, and other stimulant addiction. It gives information on four pharmacological approaches to the treatment of cocaine addiction. When a pharmacist is faced with a question related to substance abuse, this is a great resource to consult.

This respected text from the American Society of Addiction Medicine is valuable for all physicians and mental-health personnel who specialize in addiction medicine and who treat patients with addiction disorders. The chapters blend scientific principles underlying addiction with the practical essentials of clinical addiction medicine. Many of the contributors are affiliated with leading government agencies that study addiction and its science, such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The book will appeal to a wide and interdisciplinary range of professionals, especially those with interest or duties relating to addiction-related disorders, and in particular physicians seeking certification status via either the American Board of Addiction Medicine or the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Author notes

Book by: Richard K. Ries, David A. Fiellin, Shannon C. Miller, Richard Saitz