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    Glossary

    Glossary – S

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    Salience (of substance-seeking behavior)
    the degree of prominence of substance-seeking or substance use in the user’s thoughts or actions, e.g. giving a higher priority to obtaining and using substances than other activities.

    Schizophrenia
    a major mental illness, characterized by being “cut off” from a sense of reality. Symptoms of schizophrenia may include hallucinations and delusional thinking.

    Screening test
    an evaluative instrument or procedure, either biological or psychological, whose main purpose is to discover, within a given population, as many individuals as possible who currently have a condition or disorder or who are at risk of developing one at same point in the future. Screening tests are often not diagnostic in the strict sense of the term, although a positive screening test will typically be followed by one or more definitive tests to confirm or reject the diagnosis suggested by the screening test.

    Scurvy
    a nutritional deficiency syndrome caused by lack of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and characterized by bleeding, tender gums, hemorrhages in the skin and muscles, and pain and tenderness of muscles and joints. It occurs principally in malnourished individuals who eat little fruit or green vegetables. In developed countries, scurvy is now mainly seen in the alcoholic population.

    Secondary prevention
    a type of intervention in which the goal is to reduce the extent of drug use in individuals who have already been exposed to drugs to some degree.

    Sedative
    A drug that calms a patient down, easing agitation and permitting sleep. Sedatives generally work by modulating signals within the central nervous system. These sedatives can dangerously depress important signals needed to maintain heart and lung function if they are misused or accidentally combined, as in the case of combining prescription sedatives with alcohol. Most sedatives also have addictive potential. For these reasons, sedatives should be used under supervision, and only as needed.

    All sedatives/hypnotics may impair concentration, memory, and coordination; other frequent effects are hangover, slurred speech, incoordination, unsteady gait, drowsiness, dry mouth, decreased gastrointestinal motility, and liability of mood. A paradoxical reaction of excitement or rage may be produced occasionally. The time before onset of sleep is reduced but REM sleep is suppressed. Withdrawal of the drug concerned may produce a rebound of REM sleep and deterioration of sleep patterns. In consequence, patients treated over a long period can become psychologically and physically dependent on the drug even if they never exceed the prescribed dose. Withdrawal reactions can be severe and may occur after no more than several weeks of moderate use of a sedative/hypnotic or anxiolytic drug. Symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, irritability, insomnia (often with nightmares), nausea or vomiting, tachycardia, sweating, orthostatic hypotension, hallucinatory misperceptions, muscle cramps, tremors and myoclonic twitches, hyperreflexia, and grand mal seizures that may progress to fatal status epilepticus. A withdrawal delirium may develop, usually within one week of cessation or significant reduction in dosage.

    Sedative hypnotics
    a category of depressant drugs that provide a sense of calm and sleep.

    Sedative/hypnotic
    any of a group of central nervous system depressants with the capacity of relieving anxiety and inducing calmness and sleep. Several such drugs also induce amnesia and muscle relaxation and/ or have anticonvulsant properties. Major classes of sedatives/hypnotics include the benzodiazepines and the barbiturates. Also included are alcohol, buspirone, chloral hydrate, acetylcarbromal, glutethimide, methyprylon, ethchlorvynol, ethinamate, meprobamate, and methaqualone. Some authorities use the term sedatives/hypnotics only for a subclass of these drugs used to calm acutely distressed persons or to induce sleep, and distinguish them from (minor) tranquillizers used for the treatment of anxiety.

    Sedatives
    drugs that suppress anxiety and promote sleep; the NSDUH classification includes benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other types of CNS depressants.

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    a group of antidepressants that slow down the reuptake of serotonin at synapses in the brain. Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, and Zoloft are prominent examples.

    Self-help group (1)
    a term that refers to two kinds of therapeutic groups, but is most commonly used for what is more properly called a mutual-help group. It also refers to groups that teach cognitive behavioral and other techniques of self- management.

    Self-help group (2)
    group of individuals with similar problems that meets for the purpose of providing support and information to each other and for mutual problem solving; Parents Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are examples of self-help groups.

    Self-Reporting Screening Inventory
    these devices are usually substantially less time- consuming than conventional testing, and they can be used as a precursor test to determine if a full screen or assessment should be administered for the potential AODA client.

    Sensation
    in medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming (afferent ) nerve impulse in that part of the brain called the sensorium, which is capable of such perception. Therefore, the awareness of a stimulus as a result of its perception by sensory receptors. (Sensory is here synonymous with sensation.)

    Serotonin
    a neurotransmitter in the brain whose activity is related to emotionality and sleep patterns

    Serotonin uptake inhibitor
    a drug that inhibits neuronal re-uptake of serotonin, and consequently prolongs its action. Drugs of this class have been reported to be capable of reducing alcohol consumption. Certain antidepressants inhibit both the uptake of serotonin and that of noradrenaline (norepinephrine).

    Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
    a group of antidepressants that slow down the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine at synapses in the brain. Remeron, Cymbalta, and Effexor are prominent examples.

    SMART Recovery
    a treatment program for abuse of alcohol and other drugs that emphasizes a nonspiritual philosophy and a greater sense of persona control in the abuser. SMART stands for “Self-Management-And-Recovery-Training.”

    Snuff
    a quantity of finely shredded or powdered tobacco. Modern forms of snuff are available in either dry or moist forms.

    Steroids
    a group of naturally-occurring chemical compounds, anabolic steroids are the type most often abused, since there is little medicinal purpose for these drugs. Dangerous side effects occur from use of these drugs.

    Stimulants
    a class of drugs that enhances the activity of monamines (such as dopamine) in the brain, increasing arousal, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, and decreasing appetite; includes some medications used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (e.g., methylphenidate and amphetamines), as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

    Substance abuse
    a diagnostic term used in clinical psychology and psychiatry that identifies an individual who continues to take a psychoactive drug despite the fact that the drug-taking behavior creates problems for that individual.

    Substance dependence
    a diagnostic term used in clinical psychology and psychiatry that identifies on individual displaying significant signs of a dependent relationship with a psychoactive drug.

    Symptomatic drinking
    a pattern of alcohol consumption aimed at reducing stress and anxiety.

    Synthetic opiates
    synthetic drugs unrelated to morphine that produce opiate-like effects.

    Systems approach
    a way of understanding a phenomenon in terms of complex interacting relationships among individuals, family, friends, and community.

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