Explore this helpful list of terms related to treatment & recovery



In health care, the term acute is used to describe the abrupt onset of a condition or disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is severe or rapidly progressive, requiring urgent care.


Addiction is a physical dependence on a substance of abuse. The term is often used interchangeably with “Substance Use Disorder.”

Anxiety Disorder

An anxiety disorder is an illness whose essential feature is excessive anxiety and worry. An individual with anxiety disorder finds it difficult to control the worry, and the anxiety and worry are accompanied by additional symptoms including restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and disturbed sleep.


A basic assessment consists of gathering key information and engaging in a process with a client that enables a health provider or counselor to understand a client’s readiness for change, problem areas, Co-Occurring Disorder diagnosis, disabilities and strengths.

Apple Health

Apple Health is the brand name for Medicaid in Washington State.

Behavioral Health

Behavioral health refers to a state of mental/emotional being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness. Substance use and misuse are one set of behavioral health problems. Others include (but are not limited to) serious psychological distress, suicide and mental illness.


A health insurance plan or organization.

Chemical Dependency

See “Substance Use Disorder”

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program is a low-premium insurance program jointly funded by the state and federal government that provides health coverage to low-income children. In Washington State, CHIP is known as Children’s Apple Health.


A cohort is a group of people with some characteristic in common, such as age, sex, race, educational background, geographic location, employment, and the like.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a blend of two therapies: cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on a person’s thoughts and beliefs, and how they influence a person’s mood and actions, and aims to change a person’s thinking to be more adaptive and healthy. Behavioral therapy focuses on a person’s actions and aims to change unhealthy behavior patterns.


The term co-occurring, also referred to as Co-Occurring Disorder (COD) describes the presence of both a mental health and a substance-use disorder at the same time (for example, alcohol dependence and depression).

Continuing Care

Continuing Care, sometimes referred to as “aftercare,” is a form of care that supports a client’s progress, monitors his or her condition, and can respond to a return to substance use or a return of symptoms of mental disorder. It is both a process of post-treatment monitoring and a form of treatment itself.

Coordination of Care

Coordination of Care refers to the mechanisms ensuring that clients and practitioners have access to, and take into account, all required information about a client’s condition and treatment to ensure that the client receives appropriate health care services.


Counseling means using therapeutic techniques to help another person deal with mental, emotional and behavioral problems or to develop human awareness and potential. A registered or certified counselor is a person who gets paid for providing counseling services.


Dependence is a physiological state that can occur with regular drug use and results in withdrawal symptoms when drug use is abruptly discontinued.


Depressants are drugs that relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Depressants include barbiturates, benzodiazepines and alcohol.


Detox, short for detoxification, is a process that enables the body to rid itself of drugs. Medically-assisted detox may be needed to help manage an individual’s withdrawal symptoms. Detox alone is not treatment but is often the first step in a drug treatment program.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a more specialized form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that features two key characteristics: a behavioral, problem-solving focus blended with acceptance-based strategies, and an emphasis on dialectical processes. “Dialectical” refers to the issues involved in treating clients with multiple disorders and to the type of thought processes and behavioral styles used in the treatment strategies.


Dopamine is a brain chemical, classified as a neurotransmitter, found in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, motivation and pleasure.


A drug is a chemical compound or substance that can alter the structure and function of the body. Psychoactive drugs affect the function of the brain.

Evaluation & Treatment

In Washington state, Evaluation & Treatment (E&T) refers to short-term mental health services for individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis. These services may include evaluating a patient’s medications, education and skill-building, as well as discharge planning and referrals for long-term care.


The term evidence-based refers to a thoroughly researched strategy within a practice setting that has a high regard to improving and measuring outcomes (treatments, referrals, client safety, follow-up care, etc.).

Fully Integrated Managed Care

Fully Integrated Managed Care refers to an initiative through the Washington state Health Care Authority to bring together the payment and delivery of physical and behavioral health services for people enrolled in Medicaid.

Health Care Authority (HCA)

The Washington State Health Care Authority is a government agency that oversees the state’s two top health care purchasers: Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program, as well as other programs.


An inhalant is a drug that is administered by breathing in its vapors. Inhalants are commonly organic solvents, such as glue and paint thinner, or anesthetic gases, such as nitrous oxide.


An injection is described as the act of taking a substance into the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle, blood vessels, or body cavities – usually by means of a needle.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care is the health care a person receives when they are formally admitted to a health care facility, such as a hospital or residential treatment center, and are discharged after multiple days.

Long-term Care

Long-term care is the continuum of medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with chronic health problems that affect their ability to perform everyday activities.


Medication involves a drug that is used to treat an illness or disease according to established medical guidelines. If the medication contains one or more controlled substances, it must be prescribed by a licensed physician.


Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid medication used for treating pain and opioid addiction.

Mental Health

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental Illness

Mental illness consists of diagnosable mental disorders or health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.


In health care, milieu is a term used to describe the social or interactive community setting where treatment takes place.


Opioids (or opiates) are a class of drugs most often prescribed for the management of pain. They are natural or synthetic chemicals similar to morphine that work by mimicking the actions of pain-relieving chemicals produced in the body.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care refers to the health care services a person receives without being admitted to a health care facility as an inpatient client.


Paraphernalia is a broad term that describes objects used during the chemical preparation or use of drugs. These include syringes, syringe needles and marijuana pipes.


A provider is a physician, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant, as allowed under state law, who provides, coordinates or helps a client access a range of health care services.


Psychosis is a mental disorder that is characterized by distinct distortions of a person’s mental capacity, ability to recognize reality, and relationships to others to such a degree that it interferes with that person’s ability to function in everyday life.


A referral is the process for facilitating client access to specialized treatments and services through linkage with, or directing clients to, agencies that can meet their needs.


As it relates to substance use disorder, relapse is the resumption of drug use after an attempt to stop taking it. Relapse is a common occurrence in many chronic disorders, including addiction.


Remission is a state in which a mental or physical disorder has been overcome or a disease process halted.


A stigma is a negative association attached to some activity or condition; a cause of shame or embarrassment.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Substance use disorder refers to the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causing clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home.


Tolerance refers to a condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect achieved during initial use, which often leads to dependence.


Concerns maintaining an overall quality of life and the pursuit of optimal emotional, mental, and physical health.


Withdrawal refers to the symptoms that occur after regular use of a drug has been abruptly reduced or stopped. Symptom severity depends on the type of drug, the dosage, and how long and how frequently it has been taken.

Wraparound Services

Wraparound services refers to the aspects of a treatment program that address difficult-to-treat problems, such as finding childcare while in treatment, arranging transitional housing and finding employment.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]References

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Washington state Health Care Authority

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Washington Health Benefit Exchange

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders