Bill White makes the case for ending the use of the word “abuse”, as in substance abuse. He make’s 5 arguments:
- The term abuse applied to substance use disorders is technically inaccurate
- The terms alcohol/drug/substance abuse/abuser reflect the misapplication of a morality-based language to depict a medical condition.
- The terms abuse/abuser contribute to the social and professional stigma attached to substance use disorders and may inhibit help-seeking.
- The terms abuse/abuser inaccurately portray the role of personal volition in substance use disorders.
- 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.