Archive for January, 2010

Do Semantics Matter in Recovery?

Thursday, Jan. 21st 2010

This is an artcle from JoinTogether online regarding an uterly impractial study that only a disease-mongering mental health nut would worry about, because in their traditional field of practice they promote that people are not responsible for their own actions and not able to take back control over their lives but instead must be given drugs to alter their brain chemistries -

A survey of health professionals found that referring to people with addictions as “substance abusers” was more likely to evoke punitive responses to drug use than those who referred to individuals with “substance-use disorders,” according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

John F. Kelly, Ph.D., associate director of MGH’s Center for Addiction Medicine noted that the World Health Organization declared the term “abuser” as stigmatizing three decades ago, but the term is still commonly used to describe people with addictions to illicit drugs. Referring to recovery, Kelly said, “There’s an old proverb that states, if you want something to survive and flourish, call it a flower; if you want to kill it, call it a weed.”

Kelly and colleagues surveyed more than 700 mental-health professionals attending a conference on addiction and mental illness. Half received a survey that referred to a hypothetical patient as a “substance abuser,” while the rest got a survey referring to the patient as having a “substance use disorder.” The surveys were otherwise identical.

Respondents who received the “substance abuser” version were more likely to say that the patient should be punished for failing to follow a treatment plan and to agree that the patient shouldered blame for having trouble complying with court-ordered treatment requirements.

“Our results imply that these punitive attitudes may be evoked by use of the ‘abuser’ term, whether individuals are conscious of it or not, and suggest that this term perpetuates that kind of thinking,” Kelly said. “From the perspective of the individual sufferers, who often feel intense self-loathing and self-blame, such terminology may add to the feelings that prevent them from seeking help.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.”

Wow, what a waste of time and money!  How about looking at the clients instead.  Like seeing how they respond to being called students or clients instead of patients, former addicts instead of addicts, recovered instead of recovering, and just about anything other than diseased! 

Unfortunately, in order to find those alternatives a person typically has to go to a non-12-step drug rehab  or addiction treatment center to find an atmosphere like that because most traditional programs still use addict, disease, patient, mental illness and in recovery.

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