A list of common terms and their definitions used in recovery and reentry treatment

Addiction– Characterized as a brain disease, a chronic dependency on the use of drugs and/or alcohol which most often leads to self-destructive behaviors.

Assessment – A comprehensive evaluation of the type, amount, and frequency of a patients substance use. This may include a physical and mental exam, inquiry of medical history, and review of contributing social factors. A detailed treatment plan outlinining level of care follows.

Counseling – The provision of assistance and guidance in an individual or group setting presided over by but not limitrd to a professional to aid in resolving personal, social or psychological problems and difficulties.

Detox – The elimination of a substance from the body, most commonly drugs or alcohol. Detox programs can be inpatient or outpatient, are medically supervised and provide ways of easing the mental and physical pain of withdawing from a substance.

Inpatient Treatment – A form of treament conducted through an extended stay at a medical care facility. Most common for patients with more severe substance use disorders and withdrawal symptoms that need to be monitored.

Intensive Outpatient program – An intensive outpatient program is a treatment option that involves up to 20 hours weekly of regularly scheduled sessions of structured addiction treatment and mental health counseling, but allows for individual to attend school or work.

Outpatient Treatment – A form of treatment conducted outside of a medical care facility. Most common for patients with less severe substance use disorders or as a follow up treatment after inpatient services. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – The use of FDA- approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole patient’ approach to the treatment of substance abuse disorders.

Recovery Housing (Recovery Residence) – refers to independent, residence -run or staff-managed living environments which initiate, support and sustain individuals recovering from substance abuse by offering a wide range of clinical services. There are four different levels of recovery residences.

  •  Level 1 – Peer to Peer (Democratically run with no external supervision, residents are given the ability to determine which arrangements will most effectively meet their needs) 
  • Level 2 – Monitored Recovery Housing (Also known as sober living homes, they are staff monitored by a House Manager or Senior Resident. The environment is structured with support services)
  • Level 3 – Professional Supervised Recovery Housing (a high level of structure and stability is provided and have an organizational heirarchy that provides administrative oversight for service providers)
  • Level 4 – Medication Assisted Recovery Housing ( The most structured and supervised level, facilities are run by licensed and certified treatment staff that are on-site)


Residential Treatment Program – Also known as rehab, this program is a live-in health care facility providing therapy for substance abuse, mental illness and other behavioral problems and are designed to address a full array of treatment services.

Withdrawal – A collection of both physical and emotional syptoms that occur after the discontinued use of drugs or alcohol in which the body had become dependent. Symptons severity can vary from mild, severe and life threatening.

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