Abstinence: the act of refraining from the use of the substance or substances on which a person has become psychologically or physically dependent.
Abstinence syndrome: withdrawal symptoms: consists of adjustment in physical functioning and behaviour attributed in part to overactivity of the nervous system; experienced when physically dependent persons cease their drug use.
Addict: an individual who abuses drug(s) of choice including drugs other than or in addition to alcohol.
Addiction: the physical and psychological craving for a substance and related behaviour that continues even after it causes an individual physical, psychological, legal or social harm. The process of addiction is viewed by some as progressive and chronic.
Addiction concern: a person’s recognition that they may have a drug problem in the present or in the future.
Addictive process: a compulsive problem behaviour.
Aetiology: cause(s) or causal history of disease.
Affective states: a term used interchangeably to describe various states of feeling, mood or emotion.
Aftercare: delivery of ongoing services upon completion of an initial programme, such as individual counselling, group sessions, crisis intervention, environmental advocacy and social support; an essential component of the treatment process.
Alcohol: legal depressant; chemicals containing hydroxyl derivatives of hydrocarbons, one of which is ethanol, found in alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): a voluntary, anonymous self-help organization of individuals who have recognized their chemical dependence on alcohol and are committed to living a life of abstinence. Abstinence is achieved by a twelve-step programme and members of AA support each other by sharing their own struggles, experiences and hopes.
Amphetamines: central nervous system stimulants, for example dexedrine, benzedrine and methedrine.
Amyl nitrite: a vasodilator administered by inhalation; used recreationally due to its ability to induce euphoria.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids: approximately eighteen different substances; exert their effects by overwhelming the hypothalamic-pituitary hormonal system; create abnormally high testosterone levels and lead to increased muscle mass and aggression.