Rehab / Health Insurance Terminology

Addiction / Addictive Personality

Most people are aware in a general sense of what addiction means. In the context of rehab and recovery it takes on a deeper meaning. The term addictive personality is a hotly disputed term, and is sometimes used by rehabs as a hook to treat an individul, with their addiction being labelled a drug of choice.

For a clearer understanding of what alcoholism is , it is suggested you read the book Alcoholics Anonymous – for a clearer understanding of addiction, click here :

Psychiatry .org


National Institute on Drug abuse


Similar fellowship to Alcoholics Anonymous, intended for family and friends of alcoholics.

Also invaluable for people who have grown up in alcoholic homes, which includes many members of AA. Unlikely to appeal to people whilst they are in rehab, but may well be useful to them later in their recovery. Click here


Widely accepted within the medical profession that alcoholism is a progressive illnrss.This understanding underlies most of the therapeutic approaches taken by the majority of rehabs, based in part on the first five steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Most people have heard of AA, even if they know litte about it other than people go there and stop drinking.

In tersm of rehabs, AA has no connection or link a s ssuch with any rehab or clinical institution.

Rehabs have traditionally ‘borrowed’ certain principles from the AA twelve step program and used them as a base for their own therapeutic programs.

Rehabs also usually have close links with AA groups in their locality, encouraging residents to attend meetings regualrly whilst in rehab.

A rehab may also host AA meetings onsite.

Aftercare / Alumni

The word alumni is often used to give the impression that people have sort of graduated from rehab, that they have complted acourse. Most rehabs offer some type of aftercare support, either with physical meetings once a week, by skype, by email or by phone.

This can be useful, depending on where residents live. Most Rehabs will encourage clients to attend AA/NA meetings whilst in rehab, and after they have left as the most effective way of maintaining their sobriety

Christian Rehab

Normally refers to a rehab that is run along fairly strict biblical lines. It is unlikely to have any links with or adherence to any twelve step program.

Time spent in a christian rehab will most likely be spent in a mix of prayer, bible study and group worship.

It is likely the rehab will be connected to fairly sizeable church, and participation in the work and worship of the church will likely be a condition of residency in the rehab.

Some christian rehabs have a cult like feel about them because of this and should be reserached carefully.


A term that people like and dislike in equal measure – normally refers to a relationship or family where the people involved have become so enmeshed with each other that they have lost the focus of their own life, have eroded any boundaries between them.

Can be an adult relationship or family relationship.


A health insurance term that applies to any insurance policy covering a clients time in rehab.

Will be a specific cash sum that the client themselves will have to pay before the insurance company kicks in and pays their proportion.


Refers to an alcoholics seemingly strange refusal to accept the reality of the chaos of their life as an active alcoholic.

Denial can take many forms in the sense of lying, manipulation, passive acceptance etc.

Many peoeple fail to recognise that denial is fundamentally a protective mechanism, that the alcoholic is endeavouring to protect alcohol.

There is a belief amongst alcoholics that alcohol is the only thing that is holding them together, and this belief deepens the more the illness progresses.

Denial is the alcoholics mechansim to keep themselves safe, even if it kills them.

Detox – Medical Stabilization

Refers to a medical detox, where the client is medically supervised in a clinical environment, by qualifed medical personnel, whilst coming off any alcohol or dugs that are in their sytem.

The detox will manage the effects of withdrawl in a safe and controlled manner. Not to be confused with an holistic detox which some rehabs offer, see below.

Dogs – Drugs !

Some rehabs use sniffer dogs, think airports, to ensure clients do not bring any drugs into the rehab, nor use them whilst they are there.

Drug Rehab

Some people look for a drug rehab – in fact virtually all rehabs will offer help to people who are or have been addicted to drugs.

Make sure the rehab has detox experience with any specific drug that the client may have used prior to entry to rehab.

Dual Diagnosis – Dual Addicted

Refers to an individual who has been or is addicted to both alcohol and drugs

Family Therapy Program

Rehabs will normally try to involve the family in the recovery process of the client once they are in rehab.

This can be a tricky process as quite often the family have been in the front line of the persons alcoholism, and as such both sides often needa break from each other.

At a minimum, the family should be encouraged to try Al-Anon meetings for their own recovery.

Holistic Detox

Quite often a fairly meaningless term in its own right, but hugely appealing to people who like the idea of something being holistic.

Normally refers to some type of cleansing process of the body, which can include colonic irrigation, macrobiotic diets, eliminating caffeine, nicotine from the body’s systems etc.

Can also include various healing process’s of questionable worth.

Inpatient – Outpatient

Hospital terminology that also applies to rehabs.Inpatient refers to a residential client, whatever the length of time in treatment, normally 28 / 30 days, but can be much longer, in some cases up to 9 months.

Outpatient normally refers to a cline who is a day patient, either attending a clinic during the dayan dgoing home in the evening, or working during the day and attending some type of rehab clinic in the evening.

Interventions – Resistance

Interventions can seem very attractive to the family of an alcoholic/addict, because an intervention seems to offer a solution to the denial of the alcoholic and their continued drinking.

However there are grave risks involved in performing an intervention, and it should only ever be considered as a last resort.

The denial of an alcoholic is a protective / defence mechanism and an intervention risks doing permanent damage, whether or not the person goes into rehab afterwards because it is tearing down the persons defences from the outside.

The defences have to come down from the inside and only the alcoholic can do that.

Quite often the intervention is really done for the benefit of the family because they dont feel they can carry on doing what they are doing.

Most of the time the family would be better advised to go to Al-Anon for a period of time before considering an intervention.

Luxury Rehab

The Luxury rehab market has developed in effect as a counter balance to what is often seen as a fairly strict and sometimes souless rigidity in the structure and timetabling of anormal rehab.

Quite often based in Malibu, a luxury rehab sells itself on treating the client as a grown up adult, allowing them pretty much a complete freedom within the time frame of residency.

It is this perceived freedom that allows a luxury rehab to charge 2/3 times the normal ratea rehab charges.

Substance Abuse

When this term first started being used, it tended to apply to things like glue sniffing, which didn’t fall into categories such as alcoholism/drug abuse etc.

As time has gone on, the term has pretty much come to mean any substance, including alcohol, that can be ingested and abused in any way.

Therapy / Counselling

Can refer to either individual one to one therapy or group therapy, or any type of group dynamic where there is a therapeutic element. Can refer to specic therapies such as CBT or more traditional client centred work, depending on the level of staffing employed at the rehab.

Given the relatively short space of time that someone spends in rehab, the therapy is likely to be exploratory, with more intensive work likely to be needed over the longer term, once the individual has left rehab.

Therapeutic Modalities

A term that rehabs sometimes use to describe the various treatment programs they offer as their way of offering help to people addicted to alcohol /drugs

Treatment Programs

See Here

Young Adult Treatment

Refers to a rehab or treatment center that specifically caters to teenagers / young adults. There is often a raft of very specific problems relative to this age group that need special attention.

12 Step Groups

Refers to meetings of all 12 step fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonynous, Narcotics Anonymous etc.