LAC, LADC, SATP, SUD, ASAM… what does it all mean? Here are some common questions and
terminology that can be confusing when you’re trying to figure out what kind of help is available.
- Addiction Counselors – Providers of alcohol and drug abuse treatment may have different credentials, depending on their formal education and state where they are licensed to practice. For example, an addiction counselor in Minnesota is known as Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), whereas in North Dakota, counselors trained in addiction are certified as Licensed Addiction Counselors (LAC).
- Addiction Specialists – Addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists who hold subspecialty board certification. Addiction specialists have extensive knowledge and training to recognize, intervene and treat addiction and the physical complications that go along with it (ASAM, 2018).
- ASAM – American Society of Addiction Medicine; a professional society for addiction specialists. The ASAM developed a comprehensive guideline for evaluating patients with addiction and co- occurring conditions.
- Behavioral Health – The field of healthcare that is concerned with how physical and mental health affect and are affected by each other. It includes Intellectual disabilities, psychological disorders, substance use, and trauma.
- Comorbidity – Describes two or more illnesses (physical or mental) that occur in the same person and the interaction between the illnesses. They may occur at the same time or one after another. When experienced at the same time, this is referred to as co-occurring disorders.
- Detox – Short for detoxification, this is the process your body goes through to process and clear the influence of substances. Formal detox programs, also known as withdrawal management units (WMU), may use a non-medical or “social” model or a medically supervised model.
- Dual Diagnosis – When someone experiences mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time. May also be referred to as dual disorders or co-occurring disorders.
- Evaluation vs. Assessment – these terms are sometimes used interchangeably and refer to an interview or screening conducted by a medical provider, counselor or addiction specialist that helps determine the severity of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment options.
- Level of Care (LOC) – refers to the setting in which treatment is provided and intensity of program, outpatient or residential.
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – involves the use of FDA-approved medication in conjunction with counseling to treat substance use disorders. MAT may be used to treat Opioid addiction, alcohol use disorder or for smoking.
- Recovery – NIDA defines recovery as a process through which individuals improve their health and wellness, lead self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. You may hear programs describe themselves as recovery-oriented. These programs offer a dynamic range of services that include long-term recovery management, emotional and practical support.
- SUD – Substance Use Disorder; this is the clinical term used to describes substance-related problems, including abuse and addiction.