Abstinence- To refrain from the usage of chemicals for which a person may have become addicted.

Addict- A person who has a craving for mind altering substance of which he/she cannot help.

Addiction- A dependence on alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. that becomes a physical and psychological craving. No consequence or hurt can stop an addiction.

Alcoholic- A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually. One who cannot fight the craving once started.

Alcoholics anonymous- A voluntary, anonymous, self-help organization of individuals who have a problem with their consumption of chemicals whether drugs or alcohol. Abstinence is achieved through a 12-step process and a setting of one alcoholic sharing his/her like experiences with another alcoholic.

Alcoholic- A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually. One who cannot fight the craving once started.

Al-anon- A 12-step process for loved ones who have been affected by an alcoholic/addict. It introduces alcoholism to those who might not understand the disease. It teaches coping skills and how to become supportive of the alcoholic yet not enable them.

Amphetamine- Synthetic amines (uppers) that act with a pronounced stimulant effect on the nervous system.

Barbiturates- A class of drugs used in medicine as hypnotic agents to promote sleep or sedation. Some are also useful in the control of epilepsy. All are central nervous system depressants and are subject to abuse.

Binge drinking- The consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks in a row on at least one occasion.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)- The amount of alcohol in the bloodstream measured in percentages.

Chemical Dependency- A physical and psychological habituation to a mind-mood altering substance such as alcohol or drugs.

Cocaine- An alkaloid, methylbenzoylecgonine, obtained from the leaves of the coca tree. It is a central nervous system stimulant that produces euphoric excitement.


Depressants- Drugs that reduce the activity of the nervous system (alcohol, downers, and narcotics).

Designer Drugs- Illegal drugs are defined in terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs. Most are related to amphetamines. This can cause neurochemical damage to the brain.

Detoxification- A treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol intended to rid the body from addictive substances.

Downers- Barbiturates, minor tranquilizers, and related depressants.

Drug- A drug is any chemical substance that alters mood, perception, or consciousness.

Drug Abuse- Pathological use of prescribed or un-prescribed chemical substance.

Dual Diagnosis- Substance abuse or chemical dependency in addition to or co-existing with a psychiatric disorder.

Enabling- Allowing irresponsible and destructive behavior patterns to continue by taking responsibility for others, not allowing them to face consequences of their own actions.

Families Anonymous- A 12-step, self-help recovery and fellowship of support groups for relatives and friends of those who have alcohol, drug or behavioral problems. They share their like experiences, strengths and hope with each other and with new members.

Habituation- The result of repeated consumption of a drug which produces psychological but no physical dependence. The psychological dependence produces a desire (not a compulsion) to continue taking drugs for the sense of improved well-being.

Hallucinogens- Drugs that stimulate the nervous system and produce varied changes in perception and mood.

Hashish- The concentrated resin of the marijuana plant.

Heroin- A semi-synthetic derivative of morphine originally used as an analgesic and cough depressant. In harmful doses it induces euphoria; makes the user think that she/he is removed from reality, tension and pressures.


Inhalants- Inhalants include a variety of psychoactive substances which are inhaled as gases or volatile liquids. They include glue, gasoline, paint thinner, and other household products that are not considered to be drugs.

Intervention- When someone who cares for the alcoholic/addict makes a healthy decision to introduce the process of recovery to the sick person. It is when one steps into the addict/alcoholics path and tries to veer their direction to a healthier one. If taken in the right direction, one may find that a new life has just begun.

LSD- LSD distorts perception of time and space, and creates illusions and hallucinations. It comes in liquid form and most often swallowed after being placed on small pieces of paper. It increases heart rate and blood pressure. Symptoms are nausea, chills, flushes, irregular breathing, sweating and trembling.

Marijuana- Marijuana is prepared by crushing the dried flowering cannabis top and leaves into tea like substance, which is rolled into a joint and smoked. The user usually experiences a distorted sense of time and distance, and suffers from reduced attention span and loss of memory. Symptoms may include impaired judgment, slow reaction time, confusion of time sense and limited motor skills.

Methadone- A synthetic opiate with action similar to that of morphine and heroin except that withdrawal is less severe. It is used as a substitute for heroin in the treatment of addicts.

Methamphetamine- A stimulant commonly referred to as uppers and speed. It is found in powder, pill, and capsule forms and can be inhaled, swallowed and injected. The effects are alertness, euphoria, loss of appetite, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, increased breathing and elevated body temperature. Terms to describe methamphetamines are: meth, crank, crystal, ice, glass, or speed.

Narcotics- A class of depressant drugs derived from opium or related chemically to compounds of opium. Very addictive if regularly used.

Narcotics Anonymous- A self-help organization of individuals who have a dependence on drugs and want to commit to a life of abstinence. One addict helping another to achieve the same goal goes a long way and could save someone’s life.

Opiates- Drugs derived from opium such as morphine and codeine, together with the semi-synthetic congeners such as heroin.

PCP- PCP is also known as Angel Dust. It is a synthetic substance that is chemically related to ketamine, which is widely used in anesthesia. Symptoms may include blurred vision, diminished sensation, muteness, confusion, anxious amnesia, distortion of body image, thought disorder, and variable motor depression or stimulation, which may include aggressive or bizarre behavior.

Physical Dependence- When a person cannot function normally without the repeated use of a drug. When the drug is taken away, the person has severe physical and psychic disturbances.

Recovery- A lifelong process of change to abstain from alcohol/drug usage. A character building process which increases the chance of staying clean and sober.

Relapse- To fall back into the former state of drinking or using once treatment or recovery has begun. The act of going back to old behavior or regressing from sobriety.


Sober Living- A semi-structured residential setting of alcoholics/addicts who have completed treatment and need continued support for up to a year.

Sobriety- Abstinence from consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Steroids- A large family of pharmaceutical drugs related to the adrenal hormone cortisone.

Stimulants- Drugs that increase the activity of the nervous system, causing wakefulness.

Tolerance- A state in which the body’s tissue cells adjust to the presence of a drug. The term “tolerance” refers to a state in which the body becomes used to the presence of a drug in given amounts and eventually fails to respond to ordinarily effective dosages. Therefore, larger doses are necessary to produce desired effects.

Twelve Step Programs- A process of abstinence taken from the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous used by millions of alcoholics/addicts as a starting point into a new life. The steps represent an admittance to ones self that he/she has a problem with alcohol/drug abuse, a cleansing process of shame, guilt, and resentments, a character building process, an amending process and a process of giving back for the new life that one has received.

Uppers- Refer to stimulants.

Withdrawal- The symptoms that one may have when detoxing from alcohol or drugs. This may include: nausea, insomnia, anxiety, dementia, convulsions, sweating, trembling, weakness and seizures.