Addiction Resource Guide

Glossary of Terms

The act of refraining from the use of the substance or substances on which a person has become dependent.

The physical and psychological craving for a substance that develops into a dependency and continues even though it is causing the addicted person physical, psychological and social harm. The disease of addiction is chronic and progressive, and the craving may apply to behaviors as well as substances.

Adult Children of Alcoholics. A self-help organization for individuals who have suffered and suffer as the result of the alcholism of one or both parents.

A self-help organization for individuals whose lives are affected by the addiction of a family member.

Someone who as the result of their alcohol consumption, either excessive or habitual, suffers or has suffered physical, psychological, emotional, social or occupational harm.

Alcoholics Anonymous. A voluntary, anonymous self-help organization of individuals who have recognized their chemical dependence and are committed to living a life of abstinence. Abstinence is achieved by a 12-Step Program and members of AA support each other by sharing their own struggles, experiences and hopes.

A disease characterized by excessive and habitual drinking of alcoholic beverages, that causes the alcoholic, physical, psychological, and social harm.

Antabuse (disulfiram):
A drug which alters the way in which the body breaks down alcohol. Someone who is taking antabuse and consuming alcohol will have a violent physical reaction to the alcohol. nausea, vomiting and rapid changes in blood pressure occur. Antabuse is sometimes prescribed as a part of treatment after detoxification is complete to reduce the possibility of relapse.

Chemical Dependency:
A general term to describe a physical or psychological reliance on drugs.

The condition in which people allow the behavior or sickness of another to affect them to the extent that they lose their own sense of identity and their own life becomes unmanageable. Co-dependency is characterized by trying to control the behavior of another and having unrealistic expectations about the power of that control.

The process of withdrawing a person from any addictive substance. Detoxification occurs naturally when the addict cannot get his or her drug, and under these circumstances. The detoxification process can be both uncomfortable and dangerous, but under hospital supervision, detoxifcation is controlled and safe. Detoxifcation precedes rehabiltation treatment.

Dual Diagnosis:
The presence of a substance abuse or chemical dependency diagnosis with a coexisting psychiatric disorder.

Enabling :
Any behavior or aciton that assists the addict in the continuation of their addiction. Enabling is either intentional or unintentional, and is usually done out of love and misguided concern. Enabling allows the addict to continue their destructive behavior.

Families Anonymous. A self-help organization for families whose lives have been affected by the addiction of a family member.

Halfway House:
A residence for those who have completed treatment at a rehabilitation facility but are not yet ready to return to their community. They need daily support to assist them in the restructuring of their lives. Often, this includes assistance in getting a job and gradually living more independently.

When people whose lives are affected by the addict, confront him or her with their feelings about the addict's behavior and how it has affected them. An intervention is an attempt to get the addict to accept help and go into treatment. The participants in the intervention make all the arrangements for treatment, transportation to, etc.

Long Term Residential Treatment:
A treatment program for those who having completed a rehabilitation program are still not ready to return to their communities and maintain a recovery. Similar to a halfway house program, long term residential treatment offers the support and sturcture often needed to control the impulse to relapse. Programs usually run between 3 and 6 months.

A drug used with heroin addicts as a substitute for heroin. Methadone is used both during detoxifcation to ease the discomfort, and it is used in maintenance programs. In maintenance, it is administered orally under controlled conditions, and is usually accompanied by some form of rehab program. Like heroin, methadone is addictive.

Mentally Ill Chemical Abuser. MICA refers to programs for those who are dually diagnosed.

Narcotics Anonymous:
A self-help organization of individuals who have recognized their dependency on drugs and are committed to living a life of abstinence.

The change of attitudes and behaviors that brings about a life free of chemicals. Recovery is in terms of a process not a single event. It is ongoing, and one refers to being "in recovery." Recovery embraces the idea that one lives life positively one day at a time.

To repeat the addictive behavior for which an individual has received treatment.

A life free of chemicals or chemical dependency.

The need to take increasingly large amounts of chemicals in order to achieve the desired effects; the same effects previously achieved by smaller amounts.

Twelve Step Programs:
The 12 Steps are the philosophical basis of Alcoholics Anonymous and all Anonymous self-help groups. They are the means by which one can get into recovery and achieve a sober life. The first step is to acknowledge one's powerlessness over the substance and that one's life has become unmanageable.

The symptoms experienced by substance abusers when they stop using the drug upon which they have become dependent. These symptoms are usually unpleasant and uncomfortable; they may include, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, weakness, trembling, sweating, dizziness, convulsions, and dementia.

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