SAY THIS. NOT THAT.
Person in active addiction
Person with a substance misuse disorder
Person experiencing an alcohol/drug problem
Why it works: these modifiers give identity to individuals as people, rather than labeling them by their illness.
Substance misuse disorder
Alcohol and drug disorder (or disease)
Why it works: TBy incorporating disorder or disease, these terms reinforce the medical nature of the condition
Person who misuses alcohol/ drugs
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.
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.
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.