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New Language Regarding Addiction Aims to Reduce Stigma and Blame


December 19, 2013 - Chicago, IL

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - December 19, 2013) - Timberline Knolls, a leading residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls struggling with addiction, eating disorders, trauma and other co-occurring disorders, applauds the recent White House summit on drug policy reform and the recommendations to change the language used to describe addiction.

Harvard University's John Kelly, director of the new Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, spoke at the summit and to the current director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, about the stigma attached to people with substance abuse problems. Kelly stated, "Addiction is like many other medical illnesses, in that there's an interaction between the genetics and the environment and this makes some people more susceptible." In addition, Kelly said the rhetoric and language of "the war on drugs" talks about "abuse" and "abusers," and the new movement toward smarter criminal justice and a more public health approach needs to look at addiction as a medical condition. He also urged the use of the term "substance use disorder" which is more accurate medical terminology.

"This is a giant step forward for those suffering from and treating addiction," said Kim Dennis MD, medical director and CEO of Timberline Knolls. "The words that historically have been used in the addiction field are rooted in old beliefs that are stigmatizing, blaming and shaming. The words 'abuse' and 'abuser' carry obvious negative connotations and imply choice. Punishment doesn't cure substance use disorders any more than it would cure heart disease, depression or an eating disorder."

Research reports substance use disorders are brain diseases. People who struggle with addiction have no idea where their relationship with a drug or alcohol would take them when they had their first drink or drug.

"Individuals don't choose to have a substance use disorder that destroys their lives and the lives of their loved ones," adds Dr. Dennis. "They and only they have the power of choice in whether or not to take the necessary 'medicine' to recovery. This is where the choice lies."

About Timberline Knolls:

Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 - 65+) with eating disorders, substance use disorders, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. Women and families seeking Christian treatment can opt for specialized Christian-based therapy. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook -- Timberline Knolls, and LinkedIn -- Timberline Knolls.

Media Contact:
Mary Anne Morrow
Timberline Knolls
Tel: 602-359-6989
mmorrow@timberlineknolls.com

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