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Experiences of stigmatization lead to poorer health outcomes in people struggling with substance use; internalized and societal stigma can worsen health issues and decrease the likelihood that someone will seek help.
This article highlights the positive impact that shifts in language can have on stigma, and advocates for the use of person-centered and non-value-based language as one method for reducing the stigmatization of substance use and mental health struggles.
• 35% of people with serious mental illness in the U.S. and nearly 90% of people with substance use disorders do not receive treatment. (1)
• In 2019, over 17% of people with an alcohol or substance use disorder reported they did not seek treatment due to concerns that their neighbors or community would have a negative opinion of them. (1)
• An additional writeup of the article, from the NIH: Words matter: language can reduce mental health and addiction stigma, NIH leaders say.
• A recent chapter on stigma from Drs. Carrie Wilkens and Jeffrey Foote: “Bad Parents,” “Codependents,” and Other Stigmatizing Myths About Substance Use Disorder in the Family.
• More writeups in our Research Corner
• Full text available at Nature.com. Click here to read and download