Putting substance “abuse” to rest

Bill White makes the case for ending the use of the word “abuse”, as in substance abuse. He make’s 5 arguments:

  1. The term abuse applied to substance use disorders is technically inaccurate
  2. The terms alcohol/drug/substance abuse/abuser reflect the misapplication of a morality-based language to depict a medical condition.
  3. The terms abuse/abuser contribute to the social and professional stigma attached to substance use disorders and may inhibit help-seeking.
  4. The terms abuse/abuser inaccurately portray the role of personal volition in substance use disorders.
  5. The use of the abuse diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) perpetuates and legitimizes the continued stigmatization of people with AOD problems.

3 thoughts on “Putting substance “abuse” to rest

  1. No fan of abuse, I think Bill's arguments are cogent and straight to the point.

  2. I'm so glad to see Bill White taking on this topic. I have always been confused why the term is used and agreed with his arguments.

  3. The term abuser exactly fits the people it describes. No one forces them to keep damaging themselves and hurting everyone around them, they do it by their own choice. They're given help and most of them choose to go back to doing what they were doing and the choice is made when they don't have any drugs in their bodies to influence their choice, it's just the way they seem to want to be. So abuser is a totally accurate word for what drug abusers do. They're not going to change just because you call them something that makes it sound better.

Comments are closed.