Language shapes perception, and perception influences actions. There is a growing understanding that the language that has been used to describe substance use disorders has exacerbated stigma and fueled negative public attitudes. Research has even shown that trained treatment professionals respond differently depending on whether a patient is referred to as an “abuser” or a non-pejorative term. In this session, longtime recovery advocacy leader Tom Coderre will explore behavioral health messaging from the media and the scientific and policy communities. He will offer specific guidance for how treatment professionals can be a force for changing the language of addiction and recovery toward a more person-centered approach, discussing the results that this could produce for the field.
Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to:
Explain how the language that is commonly used in treatment and recovery has negatively shaped public perception.
Identify the terminology that has contributed most to worsening stigma, and alternative terminology that the field could employ.
Cite specific strategies that can be used within their programs and in the community to encourage a more person-centered mindset about addiction and recovery