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Changing the Language Surrounding Substance Use Could Help Change Negative Perceptions, Says Chapters Capistrano

Changing the Language Surrounding Substance Use Could Help Change Negative Perceptions, Says Chapters Capistrano

There are long-standing stigmas about substance use and addiction that can deter people from seeking help, but changing how these issues are discussed could make a positive difference, asserts Chapters Capistrano.

Battling substance misuse is a very personal journey and how society views these issues can influence whether or not people admit they have a problem and seek appropriate help. The words that people use to describe addiction and recovery processes often have negative connotations. By changing the language used, society can help reduce the stigma surrounding this life-changing disease, explains a Huffington Post article. Orange County drug rehab center Chapters Capistrano has released a statement to the press regarding the terminology used when discussing substance use disorders and its impact on clients.

“A concern of many clients is what others will think about their substance use or the fact that they are in recovery,” says Chapters founder Mike Shea. “For years a stigma has existed that addiction is the result of lack of willpower or a matter of choice. Making a conscious effort to change the language we use to discuss this disease can influence people’s perceptions of it.”

This is an issue that has been receiving more attention and efforts are being taken to make changes. According to the article, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has begun creating a document that outlines suggested language. U.S. drug czar Michael Botticelli explained, “Research shows that the language we use to describe this disease can either perpetuate or over the stereotypes, prejudice and lack of empathy that keep people from getting the treatment they need. Scientific evidence demonstrates that this disease is caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors, not moral weakness on the part of the individual. Our language should reflect that.”

Some of these negative terms include things like “addict,” “alcoholic,” “dirty,” and “drug abuser.” Instead, these should be replaced with terminology that is more neutral to the disease such as “person with a substance use disorder,” “actively using,” “substance-free” and “person in recovery.” Many studies have shown that addiction is a chronic disease that must be managed much like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It changes the way the brain functions and professional treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab center is necessary to help clients overcome these changes and implement strategies to reduce risk of relapse.

Dr. John F. Kelly, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has been collaborating on the suggesting language changes and told the Huffington Post, “Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, the language we use actually makes a profound difference in our attitudes and, thus, how we may approach our nation’s number one public health problem.”

“This is one more step toward breaking down the stigmas surrounding substance use and addiction,” says Shea. “The more we get people talking and using more acceptable terms, the more support it can give to getting people the treatment they need. To not feeling shamed or embarrassed for admitting that they need help.” Substance use disorders are manageable, adds Shea, and getting clients into treatment can allow them to turn their life around for the better. Chapters Capistrano welcomes clients with a wide range of substance use disorders and provides personalized treatment to meet their individual needs and help them to live substance free.


Chapters Capistrano is a luxury drug and alcohol treatment center located in the city of San Clemente in Orange County, Southern California, with two beautiful ocean-view homes. Specializing in all types of substance abuse, Chapters offers flexible treatment programs that are designed to offer greater confidence in addiction recovery. With a thorough approach to detox, counseling and mental health, this center has delivered many success stories. In addition to offering alternative approaches to conventional recovery, Chapters is also recognized for providing guest comfort with exceptional accommodations, private rooms and cell and laptop allowance. Those searching to begin a new “Chapter” in addiction recovery are encouraged to contact the facility today and visit them on Twitter to keep up with current news.

Media Contact
Company Name: Chapters Capistrano
Contact Person: Kim O\’Donnell
Email: Send Email
Phone: 949-287-8248
Address:1525 Buena Vista
City: San Clemente
State: CA
Country: United States