Glossary of Addiction Terms

Conversations about addiction and recovery can be challenging.  They are even more difficult when vocabulary is misunderstood or used out of context.  While this glossary is intended to provide common understanding of frequently used terms related to recovery, substance use, and treatment programs, it is not exhaustive.

Abstinence

The act of refraining from using any mind or body altering substance, legally, or illegally.

Adverse reaction

A dangerous and/or unexpected reaction to a drug or medicine.

Age at onset

The age at which a person develops or acquires or experiences a condition or symptom of a disease such as addiction.

Agonist/partial agonist

A drug that binds to and activates a receptor. A partial agonist has lower efficacy than a full agonist. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist.

Amphetamine

A stimulant that can be used to treat symptoms of ADHD, however, can be highly addictive and easily abused.

Analgesics

A class of drugs that are designed to relieve pain without causing the loss of consciousness.

Antagonist

 A drug that acts against and blocks an action. Antagonist is the opposite of agonist. Narcan “the overdose revival drug” is an antagonist.

AOD

This stands for Alcohol or Drugs.

Assessment

A professional evaluation of a persons overall medical history, substance use history, current health status, and over physical and mental health condition. This is intended to give a professional a better insight into creating a treatment plan for a patient.  This should only be performed by a qualified health care professional.  BrightView also  refers to an assessment as a patients “Day 1 or intake”.

 

Buprenorphine

A partial agonist, it is a prescription medicine used to treat people who are addicted to (dependent on) opioid drugs (either prescription or illegal) as part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy. Suboxone, is buprenorphine and naloxone and is sold under the brand name Subutex, among others. BrightView has the ability to prescribe Buprenorphine and Buprenorphine products.

 

Case management

Case Managers provide case management, assessment, and treatment planning services to patients with a Substance Use Disorders. Case management services mean those activities provided to assist and support individuals in gaining access to needed medical, social, educational and other services essential to meeting basic human needs. Every patient at BrightView is assigned a case manager upon their initial visit.

Ceiling effect

The phenomenon in which a drug reaches a maximum effect, so that increasing the drug dosage does not increase its effectiveness.

Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS)

The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) is an 11-item scale designed to be administered by a clinician. This tool can be used in both inpatient and outpatient settings to consistently rate common signs and symptoms of opiate withdrawal and monitor these symptoms over time.

Craving

A strong desire to use a substance or an addictive agent.  BrightView educates patients on how to identify cravings and triggers, and how to successfully respond to these feelings.

 

Detox/detoxification

The literal terms is removing toxins from ones body, or a period of time in which one abstains from unhealthy substances.  Processes of detox differ depending on the substance a person is attempting to detox from.

Diagnostic evaluation

A process in which a professional uses a set of criteria to assess whether someone exhibits signs of addiction. Symptoms that fall under that particular classification should be present for a professional to diagnose someone with a particular disorder. BrightView follows the DMS-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose susbstance abuse disorder or SUD.

DOC

This stands for a persons “Drug of Choice”, which is/are the drug/drugs (or alcohol) that a person is currently struggling with in their addiction.

Dopamine

Considered a “feel good” neurotransmitter, the chemical that boosts mood, motivation, and attention, and also helps regulate movement, learning, and emotional responses.

Dual Diagnosis

This refers to someone who has been diagnosed with more than one substance addiction.  For example, it is not uncommon for someone to be seeking treatment for more than one addiction, often times, a patient at BrightView might disclose that they are addiction to heroin as well as cocaine, meaning they have a dual diagnosis.

 

Ethanol

The principle ingredient in alcohol.

 

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient care generally refers to any medical service that requires admission into a hospital or a treatment center, where a patient stays overnight.

Intervention

Often involves a group of individuals, usually loved ones or close friends,  who are ready to confront a person with addiction in an effort to persuade them to seek professional help for their substance abuse.

Intranasal

Administered through the nasal passage.

 

Levels of care

BrightView offers the following levels of care: Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient.

 

Maintenance Medications

Medications prescribed for chronic, long‐term conditions and are taken on a regular, recurring basis.  One maintenance medication that BrightView offers is Buprenoprhine.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

The FDA defines medication-assisted treatment or MAT as the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) and can help some people to sustain recovery.

Methadone

The most common medical use for methadone is as a legal substitute for heroin in treatment programs for drug addiction, it is also considered a synthetic opiate. . BrightView does not offer methadone, instead BrightView offers many other alternatives or substitutes similar to methadone.

Methamphetamine

According to medlineplus.gov, Methamphetamine – meth for short – is a very addictive stimulant drug. It is a powder that can be made into a pill or a shiny rock (called a crystal). The powder can be eaten or snorted up the nose. It can also be mixed with liquid and injected into your body with a needle. Crystal meth is smoked in a small glass pipe.

 

Naloxone

Narcan (naloxone) is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression.

Narcan

See Naloxone.

 

Outpatient treatment

BrightView offers outpatient treatment, which does not require the patient to stay overnight.

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

According to American Addictions Centers, The term PAWS was created to describe the cluster of ongoing withdrawal symptoms, which are largely psychological and mood-related, that can continue after acute withdrawal symptoms have gone away. Although post-acute withdrawal rarely involves aches and pains, nausea, cramping, headaches, or other physical symptoms, it can be just as intense as acute withdrawal and still puts a person at risk of relapse, as they may return to drug use in an attempt to stop the discomfort.

Pink cloud

This is similar to what one would call a honeymoon phase for newlyweds.  Pink clouding, or pink cloud syndrome, is a stage in early addiction recovery the gives a person a false sense of euphoria and confidence.  According to https://addictionresource.com/, being on a pink cloud can sometimes mean a detachment from reality: people become preoccupied with the good feelings and forget about the journey in front of them. The pink cloud can also be seen as a kind of natural high and defense mechanism, which helps people ignore all the familial, financial and legal issues that they have to deal with.

Placebo

An example of a placebo is in a controlled clinical trial, one group may be given a real medication while another group is given a placebo that looks just like it in order to learn if the differences observed are due to the medication or to the power of suggestion. Placebos are widely used in drug trials.

Precipitated withdrawal syndrome

It is a rapid and intense onset of withdrawal symptoms initiated by medication as part of addiction treatment. Visit https://brightviewhealth.com/precipitated-withdrawal/ to learn more.

 

Recidivism

The probability of a person to “re-offend” or relapse, use drugs or alcohol when attempting to stay sober.

Relapse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “people recovering from addiction often have one or more relapses along the way.” Relapse is when an addict returns to alcohol or drugs after a period of sobriety. A relapse can be a detrimental and deadly affair with devastating consequences.

Route of Administration

The path by which a drug, fluid, or other substance is taken in to the body. For example, intranasal (through the nose), oral (through the mouth).

 

Serotonin

A chemical, most commonly found in the brain, that contributes to wellbeing and happiness.

Stigma

A powerful, negative perceptions commonly associated with substance abuse.  A negative connotation and/or assumption one might have against someone else for their lifestyle choice.  The “stigma of addiction” is one that BrightView tries to eradicate every single day.

Suboxone

Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Brand names include Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

The medically appropriate way to refer to someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  A person with SUD is considered person first, appropriate language.

 

Trigger

External or internal cues that cause a person in recovery to crave drugs and perhaps even relapse.

Tolerance

A person’s reaction to a drug decreases as they continue to use it, which  means that they might need more and more to get the feeling they initially felt when they first used that particular drug, this is also known as “chasing the high”.

 

Withdrawal/withdrawal symptoms

Cognitive and physical symptoms that occur after chronic use of a drug is decreased abruptly or stopped among people who have developed a tolerance to a drug. Symptoms vary based on the drug being stopped.  Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, with the most common symptoms being compared to having a very bad case of the flu often with chills, body aches, diarrhea, nausea, and restless legs.

What to Expect

This is what your addiction treatment program at BrightView will look like.

Start feeling better tomorrow.

If you’re ready to regain control and start a personalized medication-assisted treatment program that works, we’re only a phone call away.