Words Have Power
Words can instantly motivate, encourage, and inspire. They can also instantly shame, scare, embarrass, and degrade. The negative images of people’s lives who have Substance Use Disorder (SUD) are rooted in the words we use and has been shown to create hurdles in seeking treatment. In order to reduce stigma, it’s essential that we see the whole person- someone who may be dealing with an SUD, but also a person who has family, dreams, passions and other complexities, just like the rest of society.
Studies have shown that only 1 out of 12 people with an SUD get treatment and that stigma is a key barrier to this decision (Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center). Using “person-first” words that separate a person from their SUD can reduce shame, making it easier to ask for help.