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Home > How stigmatising language affects people in Australia who use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

Wilson, Hester . (2020) How stigmatising language affects people in Australia who use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Australian Journal of General Practice, 49 (3)

URL: https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2020/march/how-stig...

BACKGROUND: Use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs (TAOD) is common in Australia and can cause high morbidity and mortality. It is not uncommon for people who use TAOD to experience stigma when accessing healthcare, including general practice. Stigma communicated through words can affect people seeking help and undertaking treatment for their health issues. The language that clinicians use is an important factor that perpetuates stigma.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this article is to describe how spoken and written language can create stigma and how this affects a person's experience of care, which in turn can adversely affect health outcomes.

DISCUSSION: Language matters, and this article suggests that clinicians consider how the language they use might affect the people they see. The use of person-centred language and specific language rather than labels may assist conversations and improve outcomes.


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