Alcoholmd Glossary Page - S

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S Definition
Safe drinking

Low risk; no amount of alcohol is safe for all people in all circumstances


Acceptable safety level of a given treatment is measured by the benefits/risk ratio. See also: Medication, Treatment


ATF is in charge of regulating sales, manufacture, advertisement, distribution but also collecting taxes on alcoholic beverages

Sales license

A specific license (permit) is needed in order to sell alcohol. Depending on the context of the sales (retail, food industry, gross market), different licenses apply. See also: Permit


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, the Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. See also: Government, NIDA, NIAAA, NCADI.


Tool used by addiction medicine specialists to rate the level of a given disorder, based on patient observation and interview


Drinking amongst youngsters is a common phenomenon. A number of school (college) traditions contribute to it. See also teenager, kid, child, student, youth


Modern science has greatly contributed to the understanding of alcoholism, and more generally the phenomena of substance abuse and addiction, as a disease, having physical, but also psychiatric and social roots and consequences. See also: Biology, Neurochemistry, Psychiatry.


A grain alcohol traditionally crafted in Scotland.

Screening tests

Tests used to detect unreported problems in an individual or population


Characterized by a sudden onset of tonic contraction of the muscles, that can occur after stopping drinking. Seizures might occur 2 or 3 days after drinking stop, patient may experience convulsion during withdrawal without presenting epilepsy. Might peak 24 hours after the last drink.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

These antidepressant drugs have been reported to reduce drinking in heavy drinkers in some studies. They work by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. Their primary use is that of anti-anxiety medication. Anxiety is temporarily relieved by the intake of alcohol, but in the long run, is an anxiogenic.

Self- evaluation

Evaluation of ones level of alcoholism by several different tools, such as simple questionnaires, without the intervention of an outside party (such as physician, social worker, etc.). See also: Diagnosis, CAGE.

Self-help groups

A group of non-professional or untrained people who meet to discuss and offer assistance to one another with a commonly held problem. See also: Smart, AA.


The individual's abuse of a psychoactive drug is to manage underlying psychoactive psychopathy such as depression or psychosis. A model of behavior founded on the hypothesis that a psychopathological state may precede and sustain the abuse of a psychoactive drug initially taken as a medication.


A quality of recovery from drug dependence marked by contentment with one's state; abstinence without discomfort


An agent that acts to constrict blood vessels and also inhibits gastric secretion. A neurotransmitter involved in sleep architecture, in dreaming, in eating behavior and in clinical situation as depression, anxiety disorders and impulsivity.


Sexually motivated phenomena or behavior. Alcoholism greatly affects sex life

SFA (Societe Fancaise d'Alcoologie)

Created in 1978, the French Society on Alcohology is directed by Pr. Jean Ades. Works are focused on prevention, therapeutics, evaluation of alcohol use and misuse. The Society address is 101, Avenue Henri Barbusse, 92141 Clamart Cedex, France


Alcohol abuse can result in alcohol-related skin disorders, as rosacea or post-adolescent acne. Chronic alcohol consumption also induces changes in the vascularity of skin, relaxing the blood vessel walls and leading to different types of changes. The most common cutaneous signs of alcoholism are palmar erythema (skin redness on the hand), spider naevi (spider-looking blue or red spots) and nail changes. Facial flushing is also common.


Alcohol has detrimental effects on quality of sleep both for alcoholics and former alcoholics as well. See also: Sleep, neurological.

Slow release naltrexone (Naltrel)

A form of Naltrexone allowing for a single monthly injection, intended to improve the compliance and therefore the success rate of the treatment. See also: Naltrexone


Self-Management And Recovery Training. A nationwide, nonprofit organization which offers free support groups to individuals who desire to gain independence from any type of addictive behavior.


Short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test.


Inhaling a substances smoke through a specifically crafted device such as cigarettes and pipe (tobacco smoking), cocaine (crack). A habit linked to the addictive properties of tobacco, through the presence of nicotine. Smoking is the principal or auxiliary cause of an array of diseases, amongst which are cancer, pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease.

Smoking cessation

Quitting smoking. A difficult process usually accompanied by nicotine withdrawal syndrome. Different medications or programs are available


A state of complete abstinence from psychoactive substances by an addicted individual, in conjunction with a satisfactory quality of life. State of non-drinking any alcoholic beverages: He has been sober for 3 months, a person who has not had an alcoholic drink in three months.

Social drinking

On a social occasion, usually implying low risk drinking within socially acceptable bounds. In common usage, a synonym for drinking without harm.


Created in 1978, the French Society on Alcohology is directed by Pr. Jean Ades. Works are focused on prevention, therapeutics, evaluation of alcohol use and misuse. The Society address is 101, avenue Henri Barbusse, 92141 Clamart Cedex, France.


Distilled alcoholic beverages e.g. Brandy, Gin, Rum, Whisky, Vodka and Liqueurs.

SSRI (See also antidepressant, prozac)

Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitor. Antidepressant drugs aimed at maintaining high levels of serotonin in the brain. Low serotonin levels in the brain have been linked to alcoholism, but all mechanisms have not yet been clearly defined

Stable abstinence

Refraining from alcohol with little risk of returning to drinking.

Standard drink

A drink containing a defined amount of ethyl alcohol. In Canada a standard drink contains 13.6 g of absolute alcohol -- 341-ml. beer, 43 ml. spirits, 142-ml. wine or 85-ml. sherry. A standard or unit is defined differently in different countries.

State programs

State funded help programs destined to fight alcoholism or its consequences.


Figures descriptive of a phenomenon; number, percentages, fractions describing the habits or patterns of a population: e.g. percentage of alcohol related deaths in 1998 amongst all car crashes deaths

Steady drinker

Person who drinks most days of the week


Digestive organ located between the esophagus and the small intestine, storing and starting the digestion process. Alcohol abuse can trigger a wide variety of stomach problems ranging from hyperacidity to cancer

Strengths approach

An approach to treatment, which recognizes realistic endpoints and provides interventions adapted to the individual's needs and capabilities, and geared to the current crisis.


Obstruction or bleeding of a vessel leading to or located in the brain, affecting the oxygen supply to the central nervous system and thus creating temporary or permanent impairment of sensation or motricity. Strokes are a common complication of alcoholism. See also: Cerebro-vascular accidents

Subdural hematoma

Bleeding within the skull. See also: Stroke

Substance abuse

Continued use of a drug in spite of harmful effects. Commonly abused substances include legal substances such as alcohol, tobacco, prescription medicine, as well as illegal use substances such as cocaine, heroine, marijuana that are all psychotropic substances or products such as steroids where the effect that is sought after is non psychotropic.

Substance of abuse

Substance prone to trigger abuse by whom ever uses it. Dependence inducing substance.

Subtypes of alcohol dependence

Classification to divide alcohol dependence into subtypes: Type A (Babor): late onset, few childhood risk factors, mild dependence, few dependence problems, few psychopathology, more frequent in females; Type B (Babor): severe dependence, many childhood risk factors, early onset of drinking problems, severe psychopathology, a family history of alcohol abuse, frequent polysubstance abuse, severe life stresses, long history of treatment. Type I (Cloninger): frequent, both in men and women, late onset, mild dependence, Type II (Cloninger): exclusively in males, early onset in adolescence, severe dependence associated with related disorders, genetic vulnerability, history of attention deficit disorder in childhood, frequent antisocial personality. Gamma alcohol dependence (Jellinek): concerns in control problems, inability to stop drinking once started; Delta alcohol dependence (Jellinek): usual drinking, unawareness of a lack of control.

Success of medication

Outcome of the treatment in which the patient ceases to consume alcohol.

Success of psychotherapy

Outcome of the psychotherapeutic treatment in which the patient ceases to consume (use) alcohol.


A common outcome of alcoholic depression.

Surreptitious drinking

Sneaking drinks, drinking without wanting to be seen.

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