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Glossary of Treatment Terms


While some of the terms used in the treatment glossary could be used in the health insurance term glossary, they are more closely related to treatment. These phrases, such as cognitive functioning or chemical abuse, can help you understand the context of treatment. If you have any questions about the treatment terms glossary below, please call us at 866.812.8231.

A

Abstinence

This is the act of refraining from using drugs or alcohol. In recovery, abstinence is something an addict works for throughout his or her life.

Abuse

When a person continues to use drugs and alcohol to the point of negative consequences or the disease has not yet progressed to full substance dependence.

Addiction

Addiction can be a physical and/or psychological reliance on a behavior or a substance such as drugs or alcohol that continues despite negative consequences.

Addiction Treatment

A combination of behavioral, cognitive and motivational therapies in conjunction with medical treatment that provides the addict/alcoholic with the skills, the knowledge and the desire to maintain abstinence from substances while empowering the addict to

Aftercare Plans

Once a person has stopped using drugs and alcohol and completed addiction treatment, they will return to their daily lives with an aftercare plan. This plan is a roadmap to help patients continue their abstinence which includes therapies, family treatment

Agonist

A chemical compound that mimics the action of a natural neurotransmitter to produce a biological response.

Alcohol Self Test

Over the years, researchers have found common issues related to people suffering from alcohol abuse and dependence. A series of short questions can generally determine whether a person has or is heading toward an alcohol problem. These tests are self admi

Alcohol treatment center

A licensed facility that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of alcoholism, addictions and associated disorders.

Analog

A chemical compound that is similar to another drug in its effects but differs slightly in its chemical structure.

Antagonist

A drug that blocks the brain receptors response to another drug or a neurotransmitter.

ASAM

American Society of Addiction Medicine is an association of medical personnel that are dedicated to improving addiction treatment, support research, educate physicians to advance the practice of addiction medicine.

B

Buprenorphine

A partial opiate agonist used in the treatment of opioid dependence.

C

CDC

A series of sixteen plus centers comprise the Center for Disease Control. This allows the agency to be more responsive and effective when dealing with public health concerns. Each group implements CDC’s response in their area of expertise, while also

Chemical abuse

The abuse of a chemical or substance (pills, heroin, crystal meth etc) to the extent that it interferes substantially in emotional, social or occupational functioning.

Chemically dependent

When a person has formed a physical or psychological addiction or habituation to mood or mind altering chemicals such that cessation from the drug(s) will cause withdrawal symptoms.

Chronic Pain

Pain that is ongoing. Chronic pain may wax and wane in intensity.

Chronic Pain Management

The attempt, usually through physical and psychological therapy and medications, and surgical interventions to suppress in an attempt to improve the person’s quality of life.

Clean and Sober

For many addicts, a combination of drugs and alcohol defined their using patterns. In recover, the term to be clean meant that a person’s body was clean of drugs- he or she was no longer using. The term sober referred to a person who has maintained abst

Cognitive Functioning

Part of brain function that involves the interpretation of symbols and operations. Perception, memory, creativity, and critical thinking are part of cognitive functioning.

Cold Turkey

When a person decides to stop drinking, using drugs, smoking cigarettes etc. without medical assistance such as that provided during detox treatment. It is the abrupt cessation of ingesting drugs or alcohol, commonly described as quitting “cold turkey”.

D

Delusion

The inability to recognize the presence or severity of an addiction or behavior.

Denial

The failure to admit that one is addicted or to realize and accept the harm caused by the addiction.

Dependence

With the continued consumption of drugs or alcohol, a person develops a physical and psychological dependence. Once a person reaches a level of dependence, he or she must continue to use and drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Stopping the use or alcohol

Detox

The removal from the body of a toxic substance is known as detoxification. This process typically requires medically administered drugs to ease the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with no longer using and to restore healthy physiological processes

Detox program

An inpatient or outpatient program with medical supervision that manages the symptoms associated with withdrawal from addictive substances. Most addicts and alcoholics are much more comfortable when they enter an inpatient medical detox program that is im

DSM IV

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a book that defines psychological disorders and the criteria for a diagnosis of a disorder. It is compiled and published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM is updated every few yea

Dual Diagnosis

This is a condition suffered by someone who has a mental disorder combined with a drug or alcohol problem. However, there are many people who have several addictions and mental health disorders. The term dual diagnosis is being replaced with co-occurring

H

Half way houses

Half way houses, also known sober living houses or recovery houses are places of residence for people newly released from treatment who still require monitoring and support. There are various levels of lifestyles and services, depending upon cost.

I

Inpatient treatment

An alcohol or drug treatment facility that provides patients with medical care 24 hours a day from a staff of doctors, nurses and licensed clinicians. The treatment facility must provide a specified number of activities, education, rehabilitation, and co

Intervention

This is a meeting with specifically chosen individuals, sometimes with a professional, who come together to speak openly and honestly to the addict and alcoholic about his or her addiction disease.

L

Long term treatment

Treatment facilities that have addiction programs designed to address severe behavioral and psychological problems provide programs that last several months at a time: 3-12 months. These are known as long term treatment programs.

M

Medically Assisted Detox

Detoxification from drugs and alcohol can be a jarring process for the body. To ease the pain that often accompanies withdrawal during detox, and to control the psychological fluctuations that occur as well, doctors can prescribe a variety of drugs to eas

Mental Health Disorders

Psychological, thought and behavioral patterns that are disruptive to a person’s emotional and physical well being are considered part of mental health disorders. These are fundamental characteristics that influence what a person believes and feels.

N

Narcotics

A class of depressant drugs derived from opium or compounds related to opium. Alternatively, the legal definition is any substance that is scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Class 1-5 drug and is certified a controlled substance .

Narcotics Anonymous

A 12 Step, self-help, anonymous and voluntary organization whose members have had problems with drugs. There are no dues or fees to join these 12 Step programs.

NIAAA

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is also part of the National Institute of Health that promotes research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism.

NIDA

The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides an avenue for research on drug abuse and the dissemination of information to improve prevention, treatment and policy as it relates to drug abuse and addiction .

NIMH

National Institute of Mental Health is a federal agency that is part of the National Institute of Health dedicated to transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research.

O

ONDCP

Office of National Drug Control Policy establishes policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation’s drug control programs.

P

Partial Hospitalization

A patient may reside at home or in a residence while they continue to receive mental health and substance abuse (alcohol) treatment. Usually treatment is 5-7 days a week for several (4-6) hours a day.

Psychiatric Medication

There is a broad class of drugs called psychotropic, or psychotherapeutic medication prescribed to people suffering from a mental health disorder. These drugs are designed to reduce depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar symptoms and a host of other

R

Residential treatment

A treatment program that provides living quarters for the patients while they move through an addiction program is known as residential treatment. Generally, a nurse and physician are on call, but usually are not on site.

S

SAMHSA

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is an agency of the United States government dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. The agency helps set best practices and mai

Sobriety

Sobriety as it relates to addiction means that a person practices abstinence from alcohol. It is a state of being without alcohol. In addition, it also indicates that a new set of learned behaviors, attitudes, and thought processes have been developed.

Specialty Programs

Many people come to drug and alcohol to cope with specific life stressors. Many times these life stressors, such as domestic violence or rape, require special attention. Treatment tracks to address these problems have been developed. The specialty program

State Licensed Facility

Every facility whether a detox, inpatient, residential, outpatient, partial hospitalization that offers drug or alcohol treatment should always have a state license to do business in the health care industry.

T

The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is an independent, not-for-profit, agency that accredits and certifies health care facilities and programs. It is a national organization that strives to set high standards of industry care

Therapy

The treatment of drug and alcohol addiction combines a number of different processes (therapies) aimed at helping the patient overcome triggers to use, alter thinking patterns that lead to relapse, and confront and deal with problems that have caused the

Twelve Step Programs

The first twelve Step program began in the late 1930s –Alcoholics Anonymous. It is based upon the belief that a group alcoholics can keep each other sober. Over time, principles were laid out to guide recovering alcoholics in their mission to stay sober.