Sadly, families can be a harbor for stigma. If someone in a family has a “diagnosis” it becomes so easy to label that person as the diagnosis, and a label can help create the perception and bring it to reality. For example, lets imagine a person named Susan who is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. The moment Sudha starts thinking of herself as “I’m a bipolar” instead of “I am living with bipolar” she has created a stigma within herself. Families must not reinforce a label.
The problem is, once you have a label, you tend to act within the label. So, if you have a child with ADD, do not reinforce that label. Don’t let your child develop a sense of “Oh, I’m an ADD person, that means I’m expected to act a certain way.” Why is this important? Because when we slap a label on someone, over time, that label becomes an identity.
A child who learns they have ADD may very easily come to start behaving a certain way not because of ADD, but because it is expected. Labels prevent people from recovering, they lower expectations. Labels are stigmas in and of themselves.
We should not take a diagnosis and turn it into an identity or a label. When a diagnosis becomes an identity, then stigma has prevailed.