Richmond Treatment Center: Labeling People
I recently had a friend enter a treatment facility for alcohol and drug use. Some of the people in our inner circle recognized that he was having a very difficult time with this. One particular friend constantly referred to him as “rehab”. Obviously that was not his name but the friend seemed to think it was funny. But that kind of labeling was very hurtful to my friend and his loved ones. Others referred to him as a junkie, dope head and drug addict. These labels were also disrespectful.
The fact of the matter was that my friend was suffering a great deal. His life was in shambles and his overall health was deteriorating before our eyes. So, the idea that he was seeking treatment was a huge relief for his family and friends. But showing some compassion just by changing the words some used to describe his predicament really could send a more positive message.
One article discusses how the more proper way to describe a person’s condition is considering using the phrase “substance use disorder”. The article goes even further by adding a “person” with a substance use disorder. The article refers to this as the “person first language”. This reminds me of when I used to work with children with autism. I would often hear colleagues or others refer to a student as the autistic child. This type of labeling was very offensive to me and many others. That is why educating people about the words and phrases we use to describe someone is so important.
The Richmond treatment center focused on the person being treated. It was a nice way of respecting the clients’ needs. The last thing in the world that someone who is seeking treatment is to have some sort of negative connotation about themselves. So if we start by changing our words it can make a positive difference to helping someone on the road to recovery.