Glossary Of Rehab Related Terms
Abstinence: The voluntary self-denial of food, drink, or sex. Today, abstinence most commonly refers to denial of one’s sexual activity.
Addiction: An uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as alcohol or another drug. Dependence is such an issue with addiction that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions.
Alcohol abuse: Use of alcoholic beverages to excess, either on individual occasions (binge drinking) or as a regular practice. For some individuals’ children or pregnant women, for example almost any amount of alcohol use may be legally considered ‘alcohol abuse.’ Heavy alcohol abuse can cause physical damage and death.
Alcoholics Anonymous: A free self-help organisation founded to assist people addicted to alcohol in breaking old behaviour patterns and gaining support for consistently living a sober lifestyle.
Alcoholism: Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use would bring on withdrawal symptoms. The term may also be used to refer to ingrained drinking habits that cause health or social problems. Treatment requires first ending the physical dependence and then making lifestyle changes that help the individual avoid relapse. In some cases, medication and hospitalisation are necessary. Alcohol dependence can have many serious effects on the brain, liver, and other organs of the body, some of which can lead to death.
Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.
Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterised by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and feelings of stress.
Benzodiazepines: A class of drugs that act as tranquilizers and are commonly used in the treatment of anxiety. Benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness.
Binge drinking: The dangerous practice of consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages in a single session. Binge drinking carries a serious risk of harm, including alcohol poisoning.
Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It’s measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called “hypertension”.
Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months or more. Chronic diseases are in contrast to those that are acute (abrupt, sharp, and brief) or subacute (within the interval between acute and chronic).
Cirrhosis: Liver disease characterised by irreversible scarring. Alcohol and viral hepatitis, including both hepatitis B and hepatitis C, are among the many causes of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can cause yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. Diagnosis is suggested by physical examination and blood tests, and it can be confirmed by liver biopsy. Complications of cirrhosis include mental confusion, coma, fluid accumulation (ascites), internal bleeding, and kidney failure. Treatment is designed to limit any further damage to the liver and to prevent complications. Liver transplantation is becoming an important option for patients with advanced cirrhosis.
Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive substance formerly used as an anaesthetic. Synthetic alternatives, such as procaine, are used far more widely. Tragically, cocaine is a highly addictive and destructive street drug.
Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cause vomiting or diarrhoea may, for example, lead to dehydration. There are a number of other causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise (e.g., in a marathon), kidney disease, and medications (diuretics).
Delirium: A sudden state of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function sometimes associated with hallucinations and hyperactivity, during which the patient is inaccessible to normal contact. Delirium can be due to a number of conditions, including infection, drug toxicity or withdrawal, seizures, brain tumour, poisoning, head injury, and metabolic disturbances.
Delirium tremors: A central nervous system symptom of alcohol withdrawal that is seen in chronic alcoholism. Symptoms include uncontrollable trembling, hallucinations, severe anxiety, sweating, and sudden feelings of terror. Abbreviated DTs. DTs can be both frightening and, in severe cases, deadly. Treatment includes observation, comfort care, and in some cases medication.
Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression. The signs and symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts. The principal types of depression are called major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (manic-depressive disease).
Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. Sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphate are examples of electrolytes, informally known as lytes. Electrolyte replacement is needed when a patient has prolonged vomiting or diarrhoea, and as a response to strenuous athletic activity. Commercial electrolyte solutions are available, particularly for sick children (solutions such as Pedialyte) and athletes (sports drinks, such as Gatorade). Electrolyte monitoring is important in treatment of anorexia and bulimia.
Hallucination: A profound distortion in a person’s perception of reality, typically accompanied by a powerful sense of reality. An hallucination may be a sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there.
Hangover: A common non medical term for the disagreeable physical effects following excessive consumption of alcohol (or the use of other psychoactive drugs). Symptoms may include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and concentration difficulties.
Heroin: Semisynthetic drug derived from morphine. Discovered in 1874, it was introduced commercially in 1898 by the Bayer Company in Germany. The name heroin was coined from the German heroisch meaning heroic, strong. Heroin is stronger (more potent) than morphine.
Inpatient: A patient whose care requires a stay in a hospital. As opposed to an outpatient..
Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number of factors, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, or non-refreshing sleep. Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep; it is a measure of satisfaction with sleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for and their satisfaction with sleep. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modifying the outcome. In medicine, an intervention is usually undertaken to help treat or cure a condition.
Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolise and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolising or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolising and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
Malnutrition: A term used to refer to any condition in which the body does not receive enough nutrients for proper function. Malnutrition may range from mild to severe and life-threatening. It can be a result of starvation, in which a person has an inadequate intake of calories, or it may be related to a deficiency of one particular nutrient (for example, vitamin C deficiency). Malnutrition can also occur because a person can not properly digest or absorb nutrients from the food they consume, as may occur with certain medical conditions. Malnutrition remains a significant global problem, especially in developing countries.
Narcotic: A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosis, from the Greek “narke” for “numbness or torpor.”
Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, including systemic illnesses (such as influenza), medications, pain, and inner ear disease.
Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalised, but instead comes to a Doctor or Consultant’s office, clinic, or day surgery for treatment.
Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient’s chance of ‘recovery.
Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
Psychiatry: The medical specialty that is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
Psychosis: In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person’s capacity to meet life’s everyday demands. In a specific sense, it refers to a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired.
Rehab: An abbreviation for rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation: The process of helping a person who has suffered an illness or injury restore lost skills and so regain maximum self-sufficiency.
Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a remission.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Serotonin can trigger the release of substances in the blood vessels of the brain that in turn cause the pain of migraine. Serotonin is also key to mood regulation; pain perception; gastrointestinal function, including perception of hunger and satiety; and other physical functions.
Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems.
Suicidal: Pertaining to suicide, the taking of one’s own life. As in a suicidal gesture, suicidal thought, or suicidal act.
Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat glands. These are small tubular glands situated within and under the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). They discharge by tiny openings in the surface of the skin.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Tremor: An abnormal, repetitive shaking movement of the body. Tremors have many causes and can be inherited, related to illnesses (such as thyroid disease), or caused by fever, hypothermia, drugs, or fear.
Vomit: Matter from the stomach that has come up into and may be ejected beyond the mouth, due to the act of vomiting.
Withdrawal symptoms: Abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt discontinuation of a drug that has the capability of producing physical dependence. In example, common opiates and alcohol withdrawal symptoms include sweating, goose bumps, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain.