Talking to and about an individual with a substance use disorder means seeing them as a person battling a chronic illness. Our words reflect our thinking and make a profound difference in the outcome of care. We can choose to inspire and support our patients by reducing stigmatizing language. Words can transmit stigma. Studies have shown that people with psychiatric and/or substance use disorders often feel judged, outside and inside the health care system. This can lead them to avoid, delay or stop seeking treatment. The way we talk about people with a behavioral disorder can change lives – in either a positive or negative manner.
Thanks to Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Carilion Clinic for being a source of this poster.
The Foundation for Healthy Communities serves as the statewide leader and unified voice for New Hampshire’s hospitals and health systems. Founded in 1934, NHHA represents its members through advocacy, education and information in support of their mission to improve the health and well-being of the patients and communities they serve.