A Glossary of Terms Used in Addiction Treatment

Published On: October 17, 2017|Categories: Addiction, Educational|

Choosing to pursue treatment is a great first step in your journey toward recovery. Researching available treatment options and figuring out which path will be most effective for you is also an important step in working toward the maintenance of long-term sobriety.

However, you may be confused by the websites you visit and literature you read. Addiction treatment is a field that comes with its own clinical language that can be confusing and, at times, overwhelming. Knowledge of some basic terminology common in addiction treatment literature can help you make a better, more informed choice when it comes to your own recovery.

Glossary of Drug Addiction Treatment Terms

As you become more familiar with the field of mental health care and addiction treatment, you will begin to recognize many of these frequently used terms.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

Residential or inpatient programs are unique as clients live on-site in the treatment facility. This allows clients to receive around-the-clock care and support while they are in early recovery. They are not long term living facilities, rather, they are an initial level of care for those requiring intensive treatment and/or supervision.

Outpatient Treatment

Clients participating in outpatient treatment are able to return home after spending a portion of the day at the treatment facility or office. Outpatient treatment provides a lower level of ongoing care for those in recovery who still need some structure and support, but not constant supervision or medical intervention.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment/ Co-Occurring Disorders

A co-occurring diagnosis indicates that an individual is experiencing a mental health condition in addition to their addiction, such as depression or anxiety on top of an opioid addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment gets to the root cause of the addiction by addressing both the behaviors and feelings caused by the addiction, as well as the underlying mental health condition.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses prescribed medications such as Buprenorphine or Vivitrol to help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of opioid withdrawal for individuals in recovery. Medication-assisted treatment, along with regular counseling, has proven to be an effective option for people struggling with opiate addiction.

Holistic Treatment

Holistic treatments or therapies aim to help heal the whole person — mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Holistic therapy is often used in conjunction with other, more traditional forms of treatment, including talk therapy and group counseling. Examples of holistic treatments include yoga, massage, acupuncture, meditation and biofeedback.

Evidence-Based Treatment

If a treatment is evidence-based, it’s been proven to be successful by scientific evidence and research. That means these treatments are safe and effective and are likely to help you begin to recover from your addiction. Common evidence-based treatment methods used in addiction treatment include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the Matrix Model and Motivational Interviewing.


Some treatment programs may offer psychoeducation for the individual in treatment and his or her family as well. Psychoeducation provides information about the disease of addiction and recovery, including how to deal with the potential challenges a person in recovery might experience. This education gives you tools to begin understanding how and why certain thoughts or feelings may arise during treatment and recovery.


Opioids are drugs—prescribed or otherwise—that relieve pain caused by the nervous system. They may be prescribed by a medical doctor or acquired elsewhere illegally. Regular use of these drugs can lead to physical dependence, and individuals who attempt to stop using opioids may experience withdrawal symptoms. Common opioids include: Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet and heroin.


An addiction treatment facility that is accredited by a reputable body has gone through a lengthy process to prove that the facility maintains a certain standard of excellence. Their programs and practices have been objectively evaluated by a third-party and determined satisfactory. Looking for an accredited facility is important as it ensures optimal care, educated staff and high standards.

The two most prominent accrediting bodies in the field of addiction treatment are CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and The Joint Commission. All Pyramid Healthcare facilities are CARF accredited.

Knowing how to move forward

Taking the time to educate yourself about addiction, mental health disorder and common treatment modalities is helpful not only in choosing the facility that’s right for you, but in alleviating nerves due to the unknown. As you research and contact treatment facilities, ask questions and gather information so you can ensure the care you receive is the best.

To speak with an addiction and mental health treatment center today, call Pyramid Healthcare at 888-694-9996.

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