Alcohol Use Disorders (23) Stigma (3) How to reduce stigma?

7 February, 2024

Dear friends,

Miriam has introduced into the discussion the important issue of stigma linked to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol-related problems are among the most stigmatized conditions, adding additional burdens of prejudice and discrimination. (1) Socially, people with problematic alcohol consumption are attributed greater responsibility and generate greater social rejection than consumers of other substances. (2)

Social stigma and self-stigma are two sides of the same coin. Social stigma is defined as negative perceptions and stereotypes of the majority of the population towards a specific social group. When the person who is part of this group internalizes these perceptions, self-stigma arises. (2)

Stigma not only accentuates the problems of these people but also discourages them from seeking treatment or receiving appropriate help.(3) As a result, only a minority of people with AUD seek treatment.

Reducing stigma is an important step in helping people recover. (3)

To achieve this, it is important that health professionals learn to use non-pejorative, non-stigmatizing, and person-centered language.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the name used since the DSM-5, and replaces alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcoholism.

Instead of alcoholic or alcohol addict, use person with alcohol use disorder. Instead of recovering alcoholic, use recovering person.(3)

What else should we do?



1. Why stigma matters in addressing alcohol harm

2. Public stigma and treatment preferences for alcohol use disorders

3. When It Comes to Reducing Alcohol-Related Stigma, Words Matter

Dr. Eduardo Bianco

Director, Addiction Training Program for Health Professionals (ATHP)



HIFA profile: Eduardo Bianco is a medical doctor and Cardiologist, Certified Tobacco Cessation Expert with a Masters in Prevention and Treatment of Addictive Disorders. Currently, he is Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group. Dr. Biancos research examines tobacco control and cessation, and he is a prominent member of several organizations that address tobacco control in Latin America. Dr. Bianco has worked for 25 years in Uruguay and Latin America to promote and train in smoking cessation treatment and tobacco control policies. He is also the former Regional Coordinator for the Americas of the Framework Convention Alliance and former Technical Director of the MOH Center for International Cooperation for Tobacco. ebianco AT