Defining Common Terms in the Field of Addiction


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.

Read on for the definitions of common addiction terms.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

In residential or inpatient programs, 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.

Outpatient Treatment

Clients 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 who are in recovery, but still need some structure and support.

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. 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 uses prescribed medications such as Suboxone or Vivitrol to help alleviate the symptoms of opioid withdrawal in 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 therapy and 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.


Opioids are drugs – prescribed or otherwise – that relieve pain caused by the nervous system. 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 their facility maintains a certain standard of excellence. Their programs and practices have been objectively evaluated by a third-party and determined satisfactory. 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.

We provide a continuum of treatment programs and services, including treatment options mentioned in this blog post. Learn more about our adult and teen treatment programs.

Written by Rebecca Jones, Marketing Specialist

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