SAY THIS. NOT THAT.

Person in active addiction

Addict

Person with a substance misuse disorder

Junkie

Person experiencing an alcohol/drug problem

Why it works:  these modifiers give identity to individuals as people, rather than labeling them by their illness.

Abuser

Substance misuse disorder

Habit

Alcohol and drug disorder (or disease)

Why it works:  TBy incorporating disorder or disease, these terms reinforce the medical nature of the condition

Drug Habit

Person who misuses alcohol/ drugs

User

Has a mental health condition (or diagnosis)

Why it works: conveys the message that an individual's total identity is not his or her illness label, rather, he or she is a full person that happens to have the experience of mental illness.

Crazy/Psycho Insane/Lunatic

Addiction-free

Why it works: Indicates the patient is free from the dangerous compulsive behaviors of addiction. Less stigmatizing than “clean” or “sober” yet shows the person is no longer in active addiction.

Clean

In discussing disorders or diseases, “words can be powerful when used to inform, clarify, encourage, support, enlighten, and unify. On the other hand, stigmatizing words often discourage, isolate, misinform, shame, and embarrass…” This website is designed to help destigmatize these chronic diseases, through appropriate language, so that societal barriers to treatment are removed.