Language Is Important

THE LACK OF UNIFORM LANGUAGE for addiction and psychology has hindered the development of the field substantially.

We spend more time arguing about what a word should mean than we do about what is wrong with the patient and what treatment is being used.

This is more than a superficial problem of semantics. It causes serious problems in diagnosing addiction and related problems. It also makes accurate charting and evaluation of treatment for the purpose of reimbursement unreliable.

This lack of uniform language cuts to the core of behavioral health care credibility. Here are a few examples;

– Is it alcoholism, addiction, substance use disorders, substance dependence, substance abuse, compulsive use, or problem use?

– If we can’t agree on what the disorder/disease etc. should be called how can we actually expect get paid for the treatment of “whatever-it-is?

Establishing uniform language really makes a lot of difference:
– Are we treating the right thing or the wrong thing?
– Does the treatment help patients get well, do nothing, or make them sicker.
– What professionals, in what settings should be providing treatment?

The time spent continuously arguing about the meaning of basic terms would be better spent discussing the nature of a problem, and the best approaches for treating it

There are still serious and very STUPID debates about whether the people who have “it” should be called patients, clients, or consumers; and if those who believe that that they have overcome “It” should be called cured, in remission, in recovery, etc.

This problem has driven me crazy for over forty years and there is no solution insight.

2 Responses to Language Is Important

  1. rcgsunshine says:

    The disease language debate is hard…the lifestyle choice of Changing Language and Changing Attitudes is, however, easy.
    Recovery language can be filled with only positive words.
    The bad words in our home (and our sons are 13 and 14) are Hate, Stupid and Perfect.

  2. inri13151 says:

    I agree with the concept that this is a STUPID argument.. “WHAT” do we “NEED to call such… Patients Clients etc.. Or Cured ..Remission etc.. don’t we all have MORE important work to do here.. Steven J Taormina
    Director Christ Centered Recovery ..Tafton Pa,

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