Glossary of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Terms

Detail of hands of different people comforting each other in a support group.

Do you want to learn about common addiction terms? Are you wondering if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction? Buena Vista Recovery can help. On this page, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about alcohol and drug terms and explore our addiction glossary.

Drug and alcohol addiction are severe and complex conditions impacting millions worldwide. Addiction can alter a person’s brain chemistry and behavior, leading to physical and mental health problems and social and financial difficulties.

Because of the nature of addiction, it can be incredibly challenging to quit using without professional help. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, it’s vital to seek help as soon as possible. With the right treatment plan and support, recovery is possible.

Detail of hands of different people comforting each other in a support group.

Our Addiction Glossary

Below you can find more information about common alcohol and drug addiction terms. While these definitions are not meant to provide medical advice, diagnose addiction, or promote drug use, they can offer more information for those struggling with addiction and their loved ones.

If you have any questions about our addiction glossary or our available treatment options, please get in touch with Buena Vista at 800-922-0095. We are a professional and experienced addiction treatment center staffed with medical professionals who can answer any questions you have.

The Importance of Understanding Addiction Terms

Understanding terms related to addiction, recovery, and treatment can feel daunting if you or someone you love is battling addiction. However, understanding addiction and drug terms can help you or your loved one explore the effects of substance use, review treatment options, and get on the road to recovery.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, serious, and complex disease characterized by compulsive and uncontrollable urges to consume a substance or engage in a behavior, despite the negative consequences that may result.

The cycle of addiction is a powerful and painful experience for those who struggle with it. It generally begins with the occasional use of a substance or even a prescribed medication. Over time, the person may start to develop a tolerance, meaning they need more of the substance to achieve the desired effect. Unfortunately, this often leads to increased use and a loss of control over the substance.

Additionally, many users who try to quit relapse due to uncomfortable or even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, thus continuing the destructive cycle of addiction. These withdrawal symptoms occur because the body has adapted to the presence of alcohol or a drug and requires it to function normally. This is known as physical dependence.

What Does Addiction Look Like?

Addiction can look different for each person and can change depending on the substance they are addicted to. However, the broadest and most common signs and behaviors that may indicate addiction include:

  • Loss of Control: Even if they want to stop, a person suffering from addiction may feel unable to control their substance use. They may continue to use alcohol or drugs despite the risks, resulting in health problems, relationship issues, financial hardships, or legal trouble.
  • Obsessive Thoughts and Behaviors: A person with addiction may spend a lot of time thinking about or engaging in substance use. Additionally, they may engage in risky behaviors, such as stealing or driving under the influence.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: When a person struggling with addiction tries to stop using alcohol or drugs, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms differ depending on the substance they are using.
  • Tolerance: Most people with addiction begin to develop a tolerance for a substance, so they need more and more of it to achieve the same effect.
  • Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: A person with addiction may continue to use alcohol or drugs despite negative consequences.
  • Social Isolation: A person with addiction may withdraw from relationships and social activities to spend more time alone or with those who share their addiction.

You can learn more about what addiction looks like for a specific substance by reviewing our addiction glossary below. If you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of addiction, seeking professional help is vital to recovery.

Start on the Road to Recovery at Buena Vista Recovery

If you or a person you love is battling addiction, help is available. Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all. At Buena Vista, we take a personalized approach to every patient by providing a comprehensive treatment plan.

Help is only a phone call away, and we are available 24 hours a day. If you have questions or want to explore your options, please contact Buena Vista for immediate support.