Alcohol and Drug Terms

Discontinuance and avoidance of further use of a drug.

Addictive Personality:
An addictive personality is a trait, or set of traits, that develops in response to habit-forming drugs/alcohol or compulsive behavior (gambling, overeating/undereating, sex). It is not present prior to an addiction. One cannot predict an individual's predisposition to develop an addiction by looking for an addictive personality.

Adverse Reaction:
Reaction of an organism to a drug that is different from the desired reaction and is determined to be detrimental to the organism.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):
A voluntary fellowship founded in 1935 and concerned with the recovery and continued sobriety of the alcoholic who turns to the organization for help. The AA program consists basically of Twelve Suggested Steps designed for the personal recovery from alcoholism, and AA is the major proponent of the disease model of alcoholism. Alcoholism: Alcoholism is a primary chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial. and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestation. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic.

The condition of holding opposite feelings (such as love and hate) for the same person or object.

Behavioral Stimulant.

Alcohol and Other Drugs.


Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.

Interviewing a client to obtain the sociological background, psychological makeup, educational and work history, family and marriage difficulties and medical issues to better assess a client's need for treatment. Information is gathered and weighed carefully against specific criteria that determine the prevalence of a chemical dependency problem.

Class of chemically related sedative-hypnotic compounds, all of which share a characteristic six-membered ring structure.

Blood Alcohol Level or Concentration:

The concentration of alcohol in the blood, usually expressed in percent by weight.

California Association for Alcohol and Drug Educators. This non-profit association consists of substance abuse educators in higher education. Has developed a model drug alcohol studies curriculum widely used by agencies throughout the state.

California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives. This non-profit association consists mainly of representatives from substance abuse providers in the field. Primarily based in Southern California.

California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources. This group represents residential alcohol recovery programs utilizing the social model and certifies specialists to its own standards.

California Alcoholism and Drug Counselors Education Program. The education arm of CAADAC, which is responsible for certifying all education programs that meet CAADAC's requirements


California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors. This non-profit association represents a group of drug and alcohol counselors in the field. Has developed its own certification standards.

California Association of Drinking Driving Treatment Program. This is an association of treatment programs that represents DUI purposes in California and certifies counselors to its own standards.


California Association of Drug Programs and Professionals, also known as the Alliance. A statewide group of providers, including substance abuse programs and professional counselors based in .

The Consolidated Association of Nurses in Substance Abuse, is a membership organization of nurses certified in substance abuse treatment and recovery.


County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators Association of California consists of the alcohol program administrators from each county in California.

An agent or factor that causes cancer.

Causal Factors:
The antecedent conditions or cues that influence the outcome of a chemical dependency problem in an individual. Many schools of thought have theorized what these are, and while none agree wholeheartedly, most agree that environment, conditioning and genetics play a role.

Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor. (see also NBAE)

Chemical Dependence:
Synonymous with Substance Abuse. The DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed.) describes substance abuse as:
A maladaptive pattern of substance abuse leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

  • Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home
  • Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
  • Recurrent substance-related legal problems
  • Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance

Central Nervous System (CNS):

The brain and spinal cord. Chemical: Substance capable of altering body function.

Chronic liver disease marked by scarring of liver tissue and eventually liver failure.

A mechanism whereby a person takes responsibility for actions of others and helps one avoid facing problems directly in order to preserve stability in a family relationship.

Sedative and pain-relieving agent found in opium. Structurally related to morphine but less potent, and constituting approximately 0.5% of the opium extract.

Skills that are essential to perform certain functions, for example, social workers must have competencies in a number of areas to be effective professionals and to be licensed.

Crisis Intervention:

Intervention provided when a crisis exists to the extent that on&s usual coping resources threaten individual or family functioning.

Cross Dependence:
Condition in which one drug can prevent the withdrawal symptoms associated with physical dependence on a different drug.

Cross Tolerance:

Condition in which tolerance of one drug results in a lessened response to another drug.

California Therapeutic Communities. This is a statewide group, mostly consisting of substance abuse treatment providers which practice therapeutic community principles.

DADP (or ADP):

State of California Department of Alcohol and Drugs. Their mission is to provide leadership, policy direction and administration of a statewide system to eliminate alcohol and drug problems.

The refusal to admit to one's self the truth or reality, i.e. a person who refuses to admit that they have a problem with alcohol or drugs.

Drug Enforcement Administration. Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.


Any of several drugs that sedate by acting on the central nervous system: medical uses include the treatment of anxiety, tension, and high blood pressure.

Removal of a toxic substance such as a drug or alcohol from the body.

Disease Model:
A theory of alcoholism endorsed by the AMA, APA, The World Health Organization, NCADD and AA, in which alcoholism is seen as a disease rather than a psychological or social problem.

A state of impaired and inefficient emotional organization resulting from a person's inability to cope with internal conflicts and external reality.

Barbiturates, tranquilizers, alcohol and depressants.

Drug Misuse:

Use of any drug (legal or illegal) for a medical or recreational purpose when other alternatives are available, practical or warranted, or when drug use endangers either the user or others with whom he or she may interact.

Drug Tolerance:
A state of progressively decreased responsiveness to a drug.

Dual-Diagnosis (co-occurring conditions):

Generally used to describe the condition of mental patients who are also addicted to a mind altering drug.

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or an illicit substance - any substance, licit or illicit, if it impairs the driving function


Driving While Intoxicated.

High Risk Work Environment:
Any facility which houses inmates: residential facility for HIV infected persons, residential facility for elderly, shelter for the homeless, drug treatment clinic, hospital, clinical research or production facility that works with TB bacilli, or medical facility which utilizes procedures resulting in aerosolization of respiratory secretions from patients or which provides medical treatment primarily to populations at increased risk for TB.


Literally, a state of being poisoned or drugged; a condition produced by use (abuse) of toxic drugs, alcohol, barbiturates, and so forth.

Medical Model:

A theory of drug abuse or addiction in which the addiction is seen as a medical, rather than as a social problem.

Metabolism (of drugs):
All the chemical and physical reactions that the body carries out to prepare a drug for excretion.

Major sedative and pain-relieving drug found in opium, being approximately 10% of the crude opium exudate.

A drug having the power to produce a state of sleep or drowsiness and to relieve pain with the potential of being dependence producing.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

A natural chemical released by one neuron to influence or communicate with another. Acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA, etc.

The main active ingredient of tobacco. Extremely toxic and causing irritation of lung tissues, constriction of blood vessels, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and, in general, central nervous system stimulation.

National Board of Addiction Examiners. A not for profit national organization belonging to the National Association of Forensic Counselors. NBAE provides certification to those in the addiction field, including the CCDC certification, which is currently recognized by California, Oregon, and Washington for equivalance to State certification in Addiction Counseling.

Any substance, natural or synthetic, that is related in action to morphine and binds to the same, or some of the same, receptors. Some writers use it just to mean opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin - the natural ingredients of the poppy and their derivatives, excluding the synthetic narcotic analgesics.

Synthetic opiates.

Over-the-Counter Drugs:
Drugs legally sold without a prescription.

Pep pills:

The branch of science that deals with the study of drugs and their action on living systems.

A pharmacologically inert substance that may elicit a significant reaction entirely because of the mental set of the patient or the physical setting in which the drug is taken.

In a metabolic sequence of reactions, a compound that gives rise to the next compound: for example, choline is the precursor for the neurotransmitter acetyicholine

Prescription Drugs:
A controlled drug available only by the order of a licensed physician, P.A. or nurse Practitioners' prescription.

Primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary prevention is an active assertive process of creating conditions and or personal attributes that promotes the well being of people. Secondary prevention is early detection and intervention to keep beginning problems from becoming more severe. Tertiary prevention is the effort to rehabilitate those affected with severe disorders and return them to the community.

Mind-manifesting group of drugs producing a mental state of great calm and intensely pleasurable perception.

Psychoactive Drug:

Any chemical substance that alters mood or behavior as a result of alterations in the functioning of the brain.


The treatment of emotional or behavioral problems by psychological means, often in one-to-one interviews or small groups. Modern psychoanalysis and cognitive therapies concentrate on the patient's beliefs. Other therapies, such as those within humanistic psychology, attend to the patient's emotional state or sensitivity. The distinction, however, is not clear-cut, as all these therapies involve intense exploration of the patient's conflicts, and most rely on the emotion generated in therapy as a force in the patient's recovery. In contrast, behavior therapies derive from the view that neurosis is a matter of maladaptive conditioning and concentrate on modifying patients' behavior.

Psychotropic Drug:
Drug that acts on psychic mood behavior or experience.

Psychological Dependence:

A compulsion to use a drug for its pleasurable effects. Such dependence may lead to a compulsion to misuse a drug. A craving and compulsion to use a drug that is psychologically rather than physiologically based, e.g., compulsive gambling is a purely psychological dependence: a similar effect may come from drug use.

The study of the effects of drugs on mood, sensation, consciousness, or other psychological or behavioral functions.


Special protein on the membrane or in the cytoplasm of a target cell with which a drug, a neurotransmitter, or a hormone interacts.


Return or relapse to a type of behavior, such as drug taking.


To restore to effectiveness or normal life by training etc., esp. after imprisonment or illness; to restore to former privileges or reputation or a proper condition. Derivative (rehabilitative adj.; rehabilitation n.[medieval Latin: rehabilitare (as re-, habilitate)])


Referring to alcoholism, a recurrence of symptoms of the disease after a period of sobriety.

Relapse Prevention:
A therapeutic process for interrupting behaviors, beliefs and self talk that lead to life style dysfunction.

Reversed Tolerance:
State produced by a particular drug, process, or individual, such that lower dosages of the same drug produce the same amount and quality of the desired or observed effect that previously was observed only with higher dosages.

Self-help Group:

Group of individuals with similar problems that meets for the purpose of providing support and information to each other and for mutual problem solving; Parents Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are examples of self-help groups.

Self Reporting Screening Inventory:

These devices are usually substantially less time-consuming than conventional testing, and they can be used as a precursor test to determine if a full screen or assessment should be administered for the potential AODA client.

Side Effects:

Secondary effects, usually undesirable, of a drug or therapy or behavior.

Social Model:
A modality of treatment known as the recovery process characterized by lifelong commitment to life style changes to enable an individual to develop a constructive, productive and meaningful sober way of life that fulfills their potential; generally accomplished in a community based program.

Any of a group of compounds (e.g., sex hormones) having the carbon atom ring structure of the steroids. A steroid is any of a group of solid, cyclic unsaturated alcohols, such as cholesterol, found in plant and animal tissue.


Any of several drugs that act on the central nervous system to produce excitation, alertness and wakefulness. Medical uses include the treatment of hyperkinesis and narcolepsy.

Not using drugs; not intoxicated with drugs or under their influence.

Substance Abuse:

Refers to overeating, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, or drug abuse.

All the signs and symptoms associated with a disease.

Effect of a combination of drugs taken simultaneously, which is greater than the sum of the effects of the same drugs when taken separately.

means the disease of tuberculosis

Therapeutic Community:

Setting in which persons with similar problems meet and provide mutual support to help overcome those problems, with fairly structured rules, guidelines, etc.

Condition in which a person must keep increasing the dosage of a drug to maintain the same effect. Tolerance develops with the barbiturates, amphetamines and related compounds, and opiates.

Degree of poisonousness: any substance in excessive amounts can act as a poison or toxin. With drugs, the margin between the dosage that produces beneficial effects and the dosage that produces toxic or poisonous effects varies with the drug and the person receiving it.

Drugs used to relieve symptoms of severe psychosis (for example, Thorazine); Psychoactive drugs with sedative and anti-anxiety effect; also used as anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants (an example is Valium).

Ups or Uppers:
Stimulants; amphetamines.


Assumptions, convictions, or beliefs about the manner in which people should behave and the principles that should govern behavior.

Withdrawal Syndrome:
The group of reactions or behavior that follows abrupt cessation of the use of a drug upon which the body has become dependent. May include anxiety, insomnia, DTs, perspiration, hot flashes, nausea, dehydration, tremors, weakness, dizziness, convulsions, and psychotic behavior. If untreated in some individuals can be cause of death.