“If a person has internalized the negative stereotypes associated with being “an addict,” are they more likely to have a fixed mindset and believe they cannot improve or change?
Over 21 million Americans have substance use disorder and fewer than 3.8 million individuals receive treatment each year. 28 percent of the individuals who need treatment, but do not receive it, report stigma as a major barrier to accessing care. If we want to destigmatize addiction — a highly stigmatized disorder — then we need a unified language.
The words we use have been shown by researchers to not only negatively influence our attitudes toward people in recovery and people who use substances — to the extent of suggesting that a health condition is a moral, social, or criminal issue — but they also impact access to health care and recovery outcomes.
This article isn’t a mandate for everyone to start policing language, but it was motivated by a genuine desire to look at the evidence: how we speak to someone with substance use disorder matters. In the midst of a public health crisis, we can’t dismiss the use of language as just semantics, trivial, or being overly politically correct. We don’t have that luxury when 64,000 Americans die from drug overdoses each year and over 88,000 die from alcohol-related cause.”
Source: TheFix.com – July 2, 2018