Toward an addictionary: A proposal for more precise terminology


Kelly, J. F. (2004). Toward an addictionary: A proposal for more precise terminology. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly , 22 (2), 79-87.


A confusing array of terms is used to describe alcohol-and other drug-related problems and individuals with such problems. The terms used to describe these phenomena should be explicit, precisely defined, and used consistently to aid unambiguous clinical and scientific communication and promote clearer appraisal of, and generalizations from, empirical findings. Furthermore, because our terminology has implications for patients (e.g., stigma), programs (e.g., treatment access), and policy (e.g., appropriation of healthcare funding), we should think more critically about our choice of terms and what may be communicated by their use. Specific language is suggested along with a simple algorithm to facilitate the consistent use of terms such as “misuse,” “abuse” and “dependence,” as well as “alcohol,” “drug,” and “substance use disorders.”

Publisher's Version