Alliance Recovery Specialists

Opiate Addiction Terminology Used in Our Ohio Treatment Clinic

We help people from all walks of life in our Alliance, Ohio drug treatment and addiction recovery clinic. Below is a list of terms and definitions we use often with our patients. Use this page as a resource as you navigate the recovery process, which can seem complicated and confusing.

  • Addiction: This is a relapsing disease that includes compulsive seeking and abuse of narcotic substances, even in the face of serious consequences. It has long-term negative effects on the brain. This psychological condition may or may not come with physical dependence.
  • Addiction Recovery: This is a process of change that goes beyond abstinence to include all the elements of freedom from drug dependence, including physical, social, mental and social health. It is self-directed and empowering.
  • Agonist: These chemical entities bind to receptors in the brain, mimicking natural processes.
  • Analgesic: This is the broad name for all medications that treat pain.
  • Antagonist: These chemical entities bind to receptors in the brain and block their activation.
  • Barbiturate: A central nervous system depressant designed to treat anxiety and sleep problems.
  • Benzodiazepine: This type of medication is used to treat a variety of conditions, and can have muscle-relaxing, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative and anti-anxiety effects. They can also affect memory.
  • Buprenorphine: This is a class of partial opioid agonists used for detoxification and maintenance treatment of opioid addiction, including Suboxone and Subutex. Buprenorphine is often used in conjunction with naloxone as a safer alternative to methadone.
  • Central Nervous System: The brain and spinal cord, but not the entire network of nerves.
  • CNS Depressants: Drugs such as sedatives and tranquilizers that are meant to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • Codeine: This is a naturally occurring substance found in opium that, when derived from morphine, acts a sleep-inducing pain killer.
  • Cold Turkey: Trying to quit using or abusing drugs all at once and without medical help. This method has proven successful for only about five percent of people with opioid addiction problems.
  • Comorbidity: This occurs when one person has two or more co-occurring conditions, such as addiction and a simultaneous mental or physical disorder.
  • Compulsive: Irrational, overpowering and repeated behavior.
  • Controlled Substance: Street drugs or pharmaceuticals regulated by the government and defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Craving: A strong desire for a substance that is almost impossible to ignore and may be overpowering. These are a psychological symptom of brain adaptations related to addiction and are more serious than urges.
  • Denial: A pattern of thinking common among people with drug dependence, characterized by refusal to admit there is a problem. It is a set of defenses and distortions, not a willful and deliberate choice.
  • Detoxification: A way to rid the body of intoxicating, toxic or addictive substances. This is a first step in overcoming physical addiction.
  • Dopamine: A chemical in the brain that causes feelings of euphoria and well-being. This is a naturally occurring opioid activated by all addictive substances, but also by things such as eating, social bonding and sex. Abuse of dopamine receptors through drug use can lead to drops in natural dopamine. Then, artificial substances are required to maintain normal levels.
  • Drug dependence: This refers to reliance on drugs, whether it’s physical or psychological. The term may also include craving, compulsive drug use and urges.
  • Dysphoria: The opposite of euphoria, this is the experience of extreme unease or dissatisfaction. Often, dysphoria can be caused by substance use or abuse when that substance wears off.
  • Enabling: This is behavior meant to help a person struggling with drug dependence that, rather than helping, makes drug use easier.
  • Euphoria: Very pleasant feelings of well-being and extreme happiness, which may be caused by substances. When substance use occurs and causes this, it can be difficult for addicted people to be happy without the drugs.
  • Evidence-based Treatment: Often shortened to EBT or referred to as evidence-based practice, this means treatment and recovery techniques based on strong scientific evidence rather than on theory or anecdotal observation alone.
  • FDA: The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., this regulatory body makes legal decisions about controlled substances and pharmaceuticals.
  • Gray matter: In the brain and spinal cord, gray matter is tissue make up of nerve cells and dendrites. Loss in gray matter, and therefore in abilities to reason and be creative, can be caused by drug abuse.
  • Heroin: This is a type of processed opioid commonly available on the streets. Abuse of this drug often follows pain pill addiction because heroin is less costly per dose. However, it can be far more dangerous.
  • Hydrocodone: This type of prescription medication was first aimed at alleviating cough symptoms, but it is also an analgesic. Vicodin is a common brand-name for this drug.
  • Hyperalgesia: This means an abnormally heightened sensitivity to pain, and is often caused by exposure to opioids, damage to pain receptors and problems with peripheral nerves. This is a primary symptom of opiate withdrawal.
  • Intravenous: Administered, or taking place within, blood veins. Injecting drugs in this way can be particularly dangerous because it is very fast-acting and may increase risk for serious transmittable diseases.
  • Maintenance treatment: This refers to a stabilization period that is part of recovery from opiate addiction. It generally follows a period of detoxification. During this treatment, patients can make life changes and seek mental health treatment in preparation for a life free from the influence of drugs.
  • Methadone: This synthetic agonist medication is used to treat opioid addiction in federally regulated programs, but it comes with the potential for abuse.
  • Morphine: This narcotic alkaloid is a form of opium used to prevent and treat pain. It has the potential for abuse.
  • Naloxone: This medication is used in drug addiction recovery treatment as a safer alternative to methadone. It is most effective when used with buprenorphine. In that form, known as Suboxone, it is the only long-term medication that can be taken as part of an out-patient program. This drug can also be used to cause immediate withdrawal, so is often used as a test to discover tolerance levels of opioids in preparation for addiction treatment.
  • Negative Reinforcement: Behavior meant to avoid something unpleasant, such as taking drugs as an avoidance tactic for problems in life.
  • Opioids: Drugs derived from the poppy plant or created synthetically to have the same effect, including treatment of pain. These can also produce euphoria, but chronic misuse can lead to both physical and psychological addiction.
  • Oxycodone: A common prescription opioid meant to treat pain. It is often available as a street drug and can easily cause addiction.
  • Pain Pills: When it comes to addiction, these are opioid prescription drugs that are often abused for euphoric effects rather than for pain relief.
  • PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome): Also referred to as post-withdrawal syndrome, this health condition is characterized by long-term impairments that persist after detoxification. Symptoms can include mental illness, and may be present in infants born to mothers with drug dependence as well as in addicts themselves.
  • Peer Support: Structured relationships intended to help with recovery from drug dependence. This may be part of a formal treatment program, may occur in a nonmedical group such as Narcotics Anonymous or may even be created in online forums.
  • Physical Dependence: This occurs when a person’s body has adapted to an abused substance, such that when the substance is no longer being used withdrawal symptoms occur. This does not necessarily equate to addiction, but often goes hand-in-hand with psychological addiction.
  • Prescription drug abuse: Any use of a controlled medication acquired without a prescription, use of any medication non-medically, or use in a way other than prescribed.
  • Pseudoaddiction: Behavioral symptoms of addiction when pain control, rather than opioid dependence, is the primary issue the patient is trying to address.
  • Psychiatrist: A medical doctor specializing in mental illness who has the ability to prescribe treatment, including pharmaceutical psychoactive medications and Suboxone.
  • Psychoactive: Drugs that affect the mind rather than simply the physical body.
  • Psychological dependence: A compulsion to use drugs for pleasure and euphoria rather than to prevent physical withdrawal.
  • Psychologist: A professional who specializes in treating emotional and psychological problems but who uses talk therapy and isn’t authorized to prescribe medications.
  • Rapid Detox: An inexpensive procedure that must be performed in a hospital. Usually, a patient is prescribed a high dose of naloxone in an effort to cause symptoms of physical withdrawal. This is mitigated by doses of partial opioid agonists that relieve those physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • Relapse: This is a return to problems from the past, including drug addiction, after a period of remission.
  • Remission: A time period when a mental or physical disorder addiction has been overcome.
  • Replacement Therapy: Medical prescriptions, including naloxone and methadone, meant to aid in recovery. These opioids are meant to ease withdrawal from dangerous addictive substances.
  • Respiratory Depression: Slowing or complete stopping of breathing due to opioid use. This is often the actual cause of death from heroin or pain pill overdose.
  • Sedatives: Drugs that promote sleep and suppress anxiety, including benzodiazephines and barbiturates.
  • Stimulants: Drugs that enhance the activity of neurochemicals in the brain such as dopamine. Effect can include arousal, increase heart rate and blood pressure, a decrease in appetite and more. This category includes Adderall, cocaine and methamptheamine, among others.
  • Sublingual: Taken under the tongue. This promotes absorption directly to the blood instead of through the digestive process, but may be less effective than intraveneous transmission.
  • Suboxone: This is one of the brand names for naloxone, a medication used to treat opioid addiction. This combination of naloxone and buprenoprhine can be prescribed on an out-patient basis.
  • Tolerance: When the body adapts to a given level of medication or drug so that higher amounts are required to produce the same experience.
  • Trigger: In addiction, this refers to people, places or events that can result in mental and then physical relapse.
  • Urges: These are thoughts of or desires to use and abuse drugs that can be suppressed by willpower. These are less serious and easier to overcome than cravings.
  • Withdrawal: Symptoms caused by abruptly stopping substance use or suddenly decreasing dosages. Opioid withdrawal is excruciating and severe and usually begins in between 4 and 72 hours of decreased use. Symptoms my include shakes, chills, sweating, nausea, dry heaving, tremors, panic, dilated pupils and increased sensitivity to pain.

To learn more about these terms and the ways addiction withdrawal treatment with naloxone and bupenoprhine can help you, call for a completely confidential consultation. We can be reached at 330.536.7461 and are now accepting clients from throughout Ohio, including Alliance, Canton, Salem and Ravenna.