The stigmatization of addiction can easily lead to making assumptions about patients who are drug users. Dental professionals often associate addiction with a drug-seeking patient, which can lead to a loss of empathy and proper care of the individual. Awareness of the oral and systemic effects of a variety of drugs—including alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and opioids—may assist dental professionals in effectively communicating and providing intervention for addicted patients.
At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants will be able to:
1. Define the effects of addiction on the brain.
2. Identify stigmas associated with drug use and addiction.
3. Initiate difficult conversations with addicted patients through basic motivational interviewing skills and empathy.
4. Recognize the difference between sympathy and empathy.
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