A Short Medical Dictionary

Definitions from wikipedia.org

addiction (image-dk'shimagen) n.

A compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its consequences. A person who is addicted is sometimes called an addict.

The term addiction describes a chronic pattern of behavior that continues despite the direct or indirect adverse consequences that result from engaging in the behavior. It is quite common for an addict to express the desire to stop the behavior, but find himself unable to cease. Addiction is often characterized by a craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus. Many drugs and behaviors that provide either pleasure or relief from pain pose a risk of addiction or dependency.

alcoholism (l'kimage-hô-lz'imagem,-h-) n.

A term that describes the excessive, and often chronic, consumption of alcohol. Among the characteristics of alcoholism are compulsion and addiction. It can also be characterized as an illness or allergy, and many believe it to be a biological disease.

cocaine (k-kn', k'kn') n.

Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system and an appetite suppressant, creating what has been described as a euphoric sense of happiness and increased energy. Cocaine is highly addictive, and its possession, cultivation and distribution is illegal for non-medicinal/non-government-sanctioned purposes in virtually all parts of the world.

depression (d-prsh'imagen) n.

Clinical depression is a state of sadness or melancholia that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individual’s social functioning and/or activities of daily living. Although a mood characterized by sadness is often colloquially referred to as depression, clinical depression is something more than just a temporary state of sadness. Symptoms lasting two weeks or longer, and of a severity that begins to interfere with typical social functioning and /or activities of daily living, are considered to constitute clinical depression.

Clinical depression affects about 16 percent of the population on at least one occasion in their lives. The mean age of onset, from a number of studies, is in the late twenties. Clinical depression is currently the leading cause of disability in the United States as well as in other countries, and is expected to become the second leading cause of disability worldwide (after heart disease) by the year 2020.

heroin (hr'-n) n.

A semi-synthetic opioid. It is the 3.6-diacetyl derivative of morphine (hence diacetylmorphine) and is synthesized from it by acetylation. The white crystalline form is commonly the hydrochloride salt, diacetylmorphine hydrochloride. It is highly addictive when compared to other substances. A few of the popular street names for heroin include dope, diesel, smack, scag and H.

psychosis (s-k'ss) n.

A generic psychiatric term for a mental state in which thought and perception are severely impaired. Persons experiencing a psychotic episode may experience hallucinations, hold delusional beliefs (e.g., paranoid delusions), demonstrate personality changes and exhibit disorganized thinking. This is often accompanied by lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of such behavior, difficulties with social interaction and impairments in carrying out the activities of daily living. A psychotic episode is often described as involving a “loss of contact with reality.”