The Role of Labeling in the Addiction Process

Labeling is a term that defines the influence on individual self-identity and behaviour by the terms used to describe their disorders (Allamani, 2008). The adoption of labels has a long history dating back to 1960s and more modifications have been adopted. The adoption and use of labels has a number of roles in the disorder assessment. However, the use of labels must take into consideration the cultural contexts under which they are being used.

Labeling helps psychologists in classification of disorders, which are important in the design of the appropriate treatments for a particular disorder diagnosed in the assessment process. The use of labels helps to put disorders in categories depending on the assessment outcomes. Different disorder categories have different treatment and their classification based on labels helps in identifying the appropriate treatment strategies.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (Hamlin, n.d.), using labels helps in statistical catering of the disorders 9for purpose of census records). When assessments are carried out and disorders are categorized based on labels, it helps in identifying the number of disorders that fall under a certain category thus providing the severity of that particular disorder within a population and in the country as a whole.

Implications and Cultural Considerations of Labeling

The use of labeling has a number of implications, which include the likelihood of it carrying a stigma (Hamlin, n.d.). Labeling a disorder may lead to stigmatization, which could lead to damage of the self-image of the client, resulting in stereotyping by the individuals who know the client. In addition, there are likelihood of use of diagnoses as labels, thus excluding certain individuals from services, depriving them in purchasing certain programs and insurance coverage. Therefore, the use of labeling must consider the cultural contexts under which it is used. Some labels under certain cultural contexts may mean a different disorder. For example being labeled an alcoholic may not elicit a stigma in certain culture, while being labeled a drunkard may elicit huge stereotyping.

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