Unless you actually show up intoxicated to a medical appointment, it is possible to hide an addiction to drugs or alcohol from your doctor. In fact, people with addictions often become quite adept at concealing the condition from others -- especially from doctors who could potentially be a source of habit-forming prescription medication.
However, talking to your doctor about an addiction may be the best thing you ever do for yourself. For starters, your doctor won't judge you. Instead, he or she can offer many options for confidential treatment, including referring you to an addiction counselor or inpatient facility. Also, with a more complete picture of your health, your doctor can better examine you to make sure substance abuse hasn't caused any damage to your body -- and help you with any physical symptoms of withdrawal.
If alcoholism is advanced enough, for example, you might actually need medical supervision to detox, or the process could be fatal. Delirium tremens, a serious reaction to alcohol withdrawal that affects your nervous system, can cause heart attacks and strokes [source: Dugdale].
Your doctor also can prescribe medications to help battle addiction, such as Naltrexone or Acamprosate, which can help curb cravings for alcohol. Disulfiram will make you physically unable to drink alcohol without becoming very sick. Medications such as clonidine and methadone can also be prescribed to aid in withdrawal from narcotics [source: Zwanger].