Chapter 3.0: Key Definitions, Diagnostic Criteria, Classification of Substances, and Models

Ch. 3.4: Key Terms

bio-psycho-social-spiritual: a perspective commonly applied in the substance use arena recognizing the interacting and integrative influences of biological, psychological, social/physical environment, and spiritual context.

DEA: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, setting policy regarding the status of controlled substances.

DSM-5: The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (version 5) used in the diagnosis of substance use disorder and many other mental/psychiatric conditions; widely used across the U.S. and some other nations.

harm reduction: An approach to intervention (treatment or policy) where the short-term goal is to reduce potential for harmful outcomes resulting from substance misuse, whether or not the substance misuse is eliminated or reduced [note this does not mean that there is not also a long-term goal of reducing or eliminating the substance misuse, as well].

ICD-11: The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Conditions used in the diagnosis of substance use disorder and many other physical and mental/psychiatric conditions; widely used in other nations.

recovery orientation: An holistic approach to supporting the “whole” person in recovering from substance use disorder that integrates professional, paraprofessional, and natural/indigenous helpers in the process and addresses all aspects of wellness promotion [note that this often includes advocacy efforts].

Schedule I-Schedule V drugs: Classification categories for controlled substances established by the U.S. DEA; Schedule I is the most highly controlled class, having the greatest potential for abuse and no recognized medical use in the U.S., and Schedule V is the least controlled class of substances that remain controlled substances (as compared to over-the-counter/OTC products).

substance misuse: Use of psychoactive substances in risky patterns or risky situations.

substance use: Introduction of psychoactive substances into the body.

substance use disorder: A diagnosable condition, meeting specific criteria, distinguished by degree of severity (number of criteria met) and type(s) of substances involved; discrete from other mental/psychiatric/behavioral health conditions in that the symptoms are influenced by substance use/misuse, and discrete from substance withdrawal syndrome.

tolerance: With repeated use, requiring higher doses of a substance (or type of substance) to achieve the same effects or experiencing lesser effects (even withdrawal) when the same dose is used [note that this describes acquired tolerance; base tolerance refers to the amounts initially needed to achieve the same effects experienced by others].

withdrawal: Following repeated use of a substance (or type of substance), the body adapts to the presence of the substance such that a person experiences physical and/or psychological effects/symptoms when the substance use stops or markedly decreases [note that withdrawal occurs to a greater extent with some types of substances than others and that unmonitored withdrawal from some substances can be deadly].


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Introduction to Substance Use Disorders by Patricia Stoddard Dare and Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.