Drug Dependence & Abuse Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Drug Dependence & Abuse article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other sub...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Addiction: An uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as alcohol or a...

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Alcoholics Anonymous: A free self-help organization founded to assist people addicted to a...

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Alcoholism: Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use would b...

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Benzodiazepines: A class of drugs that act as tranquilizers and are commonly used in the t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic pain: Pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over ...

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Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive...

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Coma: A state of deep, unarousable unconsciousness. A coma may occur as a result of head t...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Detox: Short for detoxification, usually from an addictive drug such as alcohol or heroin....

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Discharge: 1.The flow of fluid from part of the body, such as from the nose or vag...

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Ecstasy: 1. A state of rapture and trancelike elation.
2. A street nam...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Hallucinogenic: 1. As an adjective: Producing hallucinations. From hallucino- + -ge...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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Heroin: Semisynthetic drug derived from morphine. Discovered in 1874, it was introduced co...

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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Impotence: A common problem among men characterized by the consistent inability to sustai...

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Inpatient: A patient whose care requires a stay in a hospital. As opposed to an outpatient...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Marijuana: A common street and recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant: the ...

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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Mucosa: Having to do with a mucous membrane. For example, the oral mucosa.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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OxyContin: A prescription painkiller that has become a popular and dangerous recreational ...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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PCP: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty conc...

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Pulse: The rhythmic dilation of an artery that results from beating of the heart. Pulse is...

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Rape: Forced sexual intercourse; sexual assault; sexual intercourse between an adult and a...

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Referral: The recommendation of a medical or paramedical professional. If you get a refer...

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Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a remission.

Resistance: Opposition to something, or the ability to withstand something. For example, s...

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Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

Respiratory rate: The number of breaths per minute or, more formally, the number of moveme...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Snort: Take in a drug by nasal inhalation. For example, snorting cocaine is inhaling cocai...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Substance abuse: The excessive use of a substance, especially alcohol or a drug. (There is...

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Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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Surgeon General: In the United States, the chief medical officer of the U.S. Public Health...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Vital: Necessary to maintain life. For example, breathing is a vital function.

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