Medical Terms for Opioid Addiction Don’t Always Reduce Stigma, Study Finds

Far too often, people battling opioid addiction don’t seek treatment because the disease is persistently stigmatized. To help alleviate this, various medical ways of describing opioid-related impairment, such as a “chronically relapsing brain disease,” “illness,” or “disorder,” have been promoted in diagnostic systems and among national health agencies.

John F. Kelly, PhD, lead investigator of a study published in Addiction on this topic and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), says his team wanted to test what extent, if any, exposure to a variety of commonly used medical and nonmedical terms describing opioid-related impairment actually makes a difference in people’s attitudes toward those with opioid addiction.

Read more on what researchers found:

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