Why you should watch your words with someone who is struggling
Approximately 21 million Americans struggle with at least one addiction, according to Addiction Center, an informational web guide for substance abuse. But many people living with an addiction face backlash from their friends, family and even acquaintances.
“While we’ve come a long way in the field and are able to now recognize addiction as a chronic medical disease, those living with drug and alcohol addictions continue to face stigma, judgment, and misunderstanding from their loved ones and society at large,” says Lauren Evelsizer, a licensed clinical professional counselor at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Bloomington-Normal, IL. “Stigmatizing language and labels perpetuate the guilt and shame they experience, not to mention deter them from freely discussing their recovery efforts,”
“People with substance use disorders need a great deal of support to initiate and maintain their recovery lifestyles. Stigmatizing language promotes isolation and silence, hence creating an environment where recovery can’t thrive,” Evelsizer says. “We can support people living in recovery by modifying how we talk about addictions.”