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Definitions

Alcoholism  |  Chemical Dependency  |  Drug Detoxification  |  Dual Diagnosis  |  Drug Addiction  |  Drug and Alcohol Treatment  |  Intervention  |  Overdose  |  Relapse  |  Relapse Prevention  |  Substance Abuse  |  Treatment Center  |  Treatment Plan
Alcoholism
  1. Continued excessive or compulsive use of alcohol or alcoholic drinks.
  2. A chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction.
Chemical Dependency

A physical and psychological habituation to a mood- or mind-altering drug, such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, prescription narcotics such as opiates.

Drug Detoxification

Drug detoxification (often shortened to “detox”) is a collective of interventions directed at controlling acute drug intoxication and drug withdrawal. It refers to a purging from the body of the substances to which a patient is addicted and acutely under the influence. The United States Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges three steps in a drug detoxification process:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Stabilization
  3. Guiding patient into longterm treatment
Dual Diagnosis

The simultaneous presence of two mental health related conditions—e.g., a developmental and a mental disorder, learning disability and substance abuse, depression and substance abuse, etc. Often, both conditions can present with similar symptoms, such as anxiety or depression can be a condition itself but also occur as a function of substance abuse or chemical dependency.

Drug Addiction

A condition characterized by an overwhelming desire to continue taking a drug to which one has become habituated through repeated consumption because it produces a particular effect, usually an alteration of mental status. Addiction is usually accompanied by a compulsion to obtain the drug, a tendency to increase the dose, a psychologic or physical dependence, and detrimental consequences for the individual and society. Common addictive drugs are barbiturates, alcohol, and morphine and other opioids, especially heroin, which has slightly greater euphorigenic properties than other opium derivatives.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Drug and alcohol treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring. Drug treatment can include behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management), medications, or their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use. Studies suggest the most effective paradigm used in treatment for drugs and alcohol will include a combination of medical treatment, therapeutic or psychological treatment and a social work services/counseling component.

Intervention

An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one or many people – usually family and friends – to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis, or other serious problem. The term intervention is most often used when the traumatic event involves addiction to drugs or other items. Intervention can also refer to the act of using a similar technique within a therapy session.

Overdose

Is the use of any drug in such quantities that acute adverse physical or mental effects occur. It can be deliberate or accidental; lethal or non-lethal.

Relapse

Relapse refers to the act of going back to using drugs and/or alcohol after a period of abstinence.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention refers to the method of counseling, therapy services, substance abuse treatment and behavior modification designed to prevent a recovering addict or alcoholic from returning to abusing drugs or alcohol. Typically designed by the therapist, counselor and/or doctor with input from the patient, a relapse prevention plan is a longterm plan that helps the recovering person navigate the peaks and valleys that occurs once they enter recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Substance Abuse

A pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Medline’s medical encyclopedia defines drug abuse as “the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed.”

Treatment Center (aka Rehab Facility)

In this case, a treatment center (some instances also referred to as a rehab facility) would refer to a licensed addiction treatment facility, which specializes in the treatment of drug addiction, alcoholism and associated disorders. Some are licensed to treat substance abuse and chemical dependency along with co-occuring disorders. The services a facility offers vary depending on the specific rehab, and could include all or some of the following levels of substance abuse treatment: residential treatment, partial hospitalization treatment, intensive outpatient treatment services, detoxification, individual counseling or therapy.

Treatment Plan

Is a medical and clinical plan, designed by the physicians and clinicians of addiction and alcohol treatment programs, complete with goals and objectives focused on the addict or alcoholic achieving and maintaining long term abstinence.

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