Stigma = A mark or a sign, usually of disapproval
Addiction is a disease. However, unlike other medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, those impacted by a substance use disorder often feel ashamed and delay seeking help. Social concerns such as stereotyping, and fear of others finding out, often deter a person or family member from seeking prevention, treatment or recovery support.
Addiction does not discriminate. Despite culturally embedded stereotypes, anyone can develop a substance use disorder. Social acceptance and community support can make a difference in outcomes for all of us, especially those who have experienced, or are living with, mental illness or addiction.
The National Council for Behavioral Health offers the following guidance for reducing stigmatizing language:
To learn more about overcoming stigma, view these other resources.
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