Recovery FAQ's

Can a person be too young to have problems with drug addiction and alcoholism?

No. Addiction does not discriminate by age, gender, or race. Addiction affects people from all ages and walks of life.

How can you tell if someone has a problem with prescription drugs?

Common warning signs are not taking their medication as prescribed, going to multiple doctors, and hiding the amount that they have consumed.

How are alcoholism and drug addiction different?

While drug and alcohol addiction can share the same emotional components, they can at times differ in behavioral components. Drug abuse tends to lead to behaviors such as lying, stealing, crime etc., whereas alcoholics may engage in behaviors such as isolation, anxiety, and depression.

How can you tell if someone has a problem with alcohol?

They will abuse or depend on alcohol in any number of situations. Alcohol is used as a coping tool. They may engage in behaviors such as drinking alone, in secret, or situations where alcohol use is inappropriate.

How effective is drug addiction treatment?

There are many factors that contribute to the success of drug addiction treatment. Does the individual have a readiness to change? Is the program appropriate for their needs and level of care? Is length of stay long enough?

How long does drug addiction treatment usually last?

It can vary depending on the programming offered by the facility, insurance allowances, and also the substance of choice used. Minimum stays are 30 days. In most cases extended stays of 90 -180 days can increase the chances of long term recovery.

Where do 12-step or self-help programs fit into drug addiction treatment?

While these resources are not “treatment” or regulated by licensed professionals, they can be a very important part of the continuum of care and help support the individual towards long-term recovery.



The process by which a provider of treatment services meets nationally accepted standards by an accrediting organization. The provider mentioned is monitored annually and must continue to meet those standards on a set schedule determined by the accrediting organization.


Recognized criteria that defines what can be considered a maladaptive pattern of use, leading to impairment or distress as indicated by three or more of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:

  • Tolerance: The need for more or less of the substance in order to achieve the same effects.
  • Withdrawal: Physical symptom such as shakes or heightened irritability when the substance is withdrawn.
  • Substance: Taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • Control: Persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control substance use.
  • Increased Substance Activity: Effort spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance or recover from its effects.
  • Reduced or Abandoned Activities: Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
  • Continued Substance Usage in Spite of Problem: Use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

Aftercare Plan

A written plan, completed by the client/patient, that outlines goals the individual sets to be achieved in aftercare/continuing care.


The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.


  1. Someone who as the result of their alcohol consumption, either excessive or habitual, suffers or has suffered physical, psychological, emotional, social or occupational harm.
  2. Someone who demonstrates a continuous or periodic impaired control over drinking; preoccupation with alcohol; and use of alcohol despite adverse consequences and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

One of the earliest forms of addiction treatment in the United States, AA developed the 12-step approach to assisting recovery from alcohol addiction (alcoholism). Several other anonymous groups have adapted the 12-step approach to help people recover from addiction to other drugs (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Pot Smokers Anonymous).


A chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing alcohol intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally. Currently believed by many to be a disease with strong genetic links.

Chemical Dependency

  1. Physical addiction to a drug or substance, such as alcohol or heroine, that results in biological changes (including withdrawl) if discontinued suddenly.
  2. Any condition resulting from dependency on or abuse of a psychoactive substance as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-Revised, (DSM-IV-R), or subsequent revisions, published by the American Psychiatric Association.


A set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress associated with an alcoholic or drug addicted family member.

Co-occurring Disorder – (also referred to as Dual Diagnosis)

A diagnosis of substance abuse disorder and a concurrent psychiatric disorder. It is important that the necessary treatment of both disorders is recognized by the client and the treating staff in order to avoid potential relapse.

Court Ordered to Treatment

Individual is required to receive treatment as a result of an order issued by the court.

DCF – Florida Department of Children and Family Services

An agency of the State of Florida that provides help and services to individuals and families who are at risk or affected by substance abuse by means of evidenced-based prevention and treatment through an integration of services such as easier access, emergency detoxification and treatment.


Appropriate care for clients who are experiencing withdrawal from the physical effect of alcohol and other drugs. This level is medically managed by physicians and nurses who monitor the stabilization needs of the client. Detoxification may be delivered in an outpatient or inpatient setting after appropriate initial assessment.

  • Outpatient Detoxification: May be offered by a physician in an office or health care facility. The degree of medical monitoring is dependent on the client’s level of severity.
  • Inpatient Detoxification: Provides 24-hour services for clients in withdrawal who require a greater degree of medical management due to more severe symptoms.


A general term used to refer to any departure from health in which a patient suffers. It can be defined as disorder of bodily function or destructive processes in organs, organs’ systems or in an organism with recognizable signs and symptoms, and in many cases a known cause. The words disease, illness and sickness are used often interchangeably but are not synonymous. Rather, whereas disease relates to a physiological or psychological dysfunction, an illness is the subjective state of a patient who feels unwell and sickness encompasses a state of social dysfunction, such as the role that the individual assumes when ill.

Drug Addict

  • Someone who is physiologically dependent on a drug where the abrupt deprivation of the drug produces withdrawal symptoms.
  • Junky, Junkie.
  • Someone addicted to narcotics.

Drug Court

A special court given the responsibility of select felony and misdemeanor cases involving non-violent drug-using offenders. The program includes frequent random drug testing, judicial and probation supervision, drug treatment counseling, educational and vocational opportunities, and the use of sanctions and incentives.

Halfway House

A residence for those who have completed treatment at a rehabilitation facility but are not yet ready to return to their community. They need daily support to assist them in the restructuring of their lives. Often, this includes assistance in getting a job and gradually living more independently.


Those who are needy and poor, or those who have not sufficient property to furnish a living nor anyone able to support them to whom they are entitled to look for support.


Strategies that are used by a program, therapist, addiction professional, or certified interventionist in order to move an individual or family towards healing and treatment. It is also used to impede or prevent progression of relapse or potential relapse. Interventions should only be conducted by a certified professional.

Licensed Facility

The process by which a provider of treatment services satisfies standards required by the Department of Children and Family Services. A licensed facility is monitored and must continue to meet these standards annually.

Recovery Residence

Similar to a halfway house but with stronger emphasize on a permanent recovery plan. This usually involves participation in a 12 step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Residents are expected to attend daily AA meeting, get a sponsor, work the 12 steps and become involved.

Recovery Meetings

Meetings in which people attend, along with other persons, who wish to recover from an addictive disease. It is a “fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hop that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover”.


A return to addictive use after a period of abstinence. The use of a chemical substance is the “event” of a relapse. The “process” of relapse occurs before the actual use and can be intervened upon prior to the actual use of a substance. Signs and symptoms to be aware of are the emergence of old behaviors previously seen during active substance use.

Residential/Inpatient Treatment

A level of care that provides a 24-hour, live-in program. It is designed for clients with significant disruption of life areas such as work, school, family relationships, health, friends, or legal consequences. In Florida, there are four levels of residential/inpatient treatment as defined by the Florida Administrative Code. These levels are defined in terms of length of stay and intensity of treatment as follows:

  • Partial Hospitalization/Day-Night Treatment: Requires a minimum of 16 hours of structured treatment activities a week, 10 of which must be in individual, group, or family sessions.
  • Transitional Living/Residential Levels 4 and 5: These are residential levels of care which require a minimum of 9 hours of structured treatment activities. This service may be indicated in helping clients transition from a more intensive level of treatment to a less intensive level, or it may be used widely as a treatment level itself. In either case, this level allows clients the flexibility to work and attend school while receiving these services.
  • Outpatient Treatment: This level of care can range from weekly counseling.


  • Habitual soberness or temperance as to the use of spirituous liquors; as, a man of sobriety.
  • Habitual freedom from enthusiasm, inordinate passion, or overheated imagination; calmness; coolness; gravity; seriousness; as, the sobriety of riper years.
  • State of mental clarity obtained through abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

Substance Abuse

The taking of alcohol or other drugs at dosages that place a person’s social, economic, psychological and physical welfare in potential hazard, or endanger public health, morals, safety or welfare, or a combination thereof. Also called chemical dependency.

Treatment Centers

Residential facilities, usually non-medical, providing for the care, treatment or rehabilitation of drug users, including alcohol users.

Transitional Living

Non-medical residential program providing training for living in a setting of greater independence. The primary focus is on teaching functional skills and compensating for abilities that cannot be restored. See Halfway Houses and Recovery Homes.

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