Breaking The Stigma Of Addiction With Language

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Using The Right Words Is Breaking The Stigma Of Addiction

Words have power to affect lives, and the wrong words can bring about negative results. How you speak to and about people afflicted with addiction can give them the courage to seek treatment or cause them to withdraw into a world that destroys hope. For many, the loss of hope results in overdose or suicide. Breaking the stigma of addiction with the correct language can make a big difference in the life of a loved one suffering from addiction.

Breaking the Stigma of Addiction with Language

There is something every person can do to help stem the tide of the drug epidemic that is trying to swallow up a whole generation of Americans. Breaking the stigma of addiction with language should be a goal for every American. Television drama shows are full of negative terms including junkie, addict, substance abuser, and others. There are criminals who take advantage of people afflicted with the disease of addiction, and their livelihood depends on keeping individuals supplied with illegal drugs. Their power will be broken when those who misuse drugs are not vilified, but are instead encouraged to seek help for their disease.

Breaking the stigma of addiction with languages depends on everyone learning and using terminology that lets individuals know they are not being judged for their disease and that there are people desiring to help them. There are people in long-term recovery who dedicate many hours of their lives to helping those searching for a way out of addiction. Referring to people as drug or alcohol abusers takes away their remaining dignity and ignores the recognition of the addiction as a disease. The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT) recommends the following terminology:

  • Person in active addiction
  • Person with a substance misuse disorder
  • Person experiencing an alcohol/drug problem
  • Patient (if referring to an individual receiving treatment services)

It’s important not to use words that cause people to feel like such a failure they won’t seek help. Other terms that can be substituted for abuse include:

  • Misuse
  • Harmful use
  • Inappropriate use
  • Hazardous use
  • Problem use
  • Risky use

Stigma Of Addiction

The stigma of addiction blames the individual with the illness instead of blaming the disease and those profiting from it. There are people who drink several times a week and are never afflicted with alcohol addiction. Other people experiment with drugs and never suffer from addiction. Why is this? Addiction is a disease. Should the person who has the disease be judged and criticized? Society needs to become educated on the chronic disease of addiction in order to change its mistaken and outdated perceptions and to encourage its members who are currently afraid to seek help for fear of losing their jobs, families, and friends. By blaming the person who is experiencing a drug or alcohol problem, society removes the blame from those who actively promote and sell addictive substances and places it squarely upon the person with the affliction.

Addiction Treatment Centers

Better Addiction Care (BAC) Is a free referral service that connects those in need of addiction treatment centers to excellent facilities. Call BAC at 1.800.429.7690 and speak to an addiction specialist about the problems faced by you or someone you love. It’s important to be totally honest about the length of time drugs have been used, the type of substance abused, and the dosage.┬áThis will assist BAC in connecting you with a facility that is able to provide all the help needed. If discouraging language has kept you from seeking help, it’s important to recognize more people are on your side than against you.

Get the help you need today. The time is now to call BAC at 1.800.429.7690 and recover your life.