Writing About Illness: What Words Are OK?


Today’s post is short and to the point. (Creating posts that prioritize brevity without sacrificing quality is a practice I strongly advocate as a way to build your wellness business.)

So, herewith: When writing about health, don’t conflate the person with the disease.

For example, don’t say “diabetic.” Say “person with diabetes.” Don’t say “obese person.” Say “person with obesity.” Don’t say “schizophrenic.” Say “person with schizophrenia.”

This might feel like splitting hairs, but these are important distinctions. You just have to try the same thing once with another disease—“cancer person” vs. “person with cancer”—to understand the outsized difference between the two.

People contain multitudes. They’re not defined by their conditions. Don’t let your writing pigeonhole people.

Weekly writing affirmation: My readers are fully realized human beings.




Laine Bergeson