250 Words You Should Never Label Against Anyone

During our course of talks either in personal life or corporate life, either in oral or written communication, we should not never use the words that hurt people.

Avoid Words Associated with Stigma

According to a research published in 2007 in PubMed Central (PMC), a journal brought out by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (U.S.), 250 words make the people (young students in their study) more associated with the stigma of mental illness and disturb them.

These words with “denotative and connotative meanings” have been categorized as derogatory, emotionally negative, or demonstrate cognitive disabilities, psychological disorders, or relate to violence. We should never use such derogatory words against anyone because they cause immense prejudice in the people, if they have symptoms of mental issues.

Family members, friends, and society are the first circle we live with must take care not to label against anyone that make them feel down.

These 250 words have been presented in three tables based on the frequency they have been used.

Table 1: Most frequently occurring words and terms

Term Frequency Term Frequency
Disturbed 11 Scary 5
Nuts 11 Div 4
Confused 10 Dumb 4
Psycho 10 Ill 4
Spastic 10 Loneliness 4
Crazy 9 Loony bin 4
Depression 7 Psychiatric 4
Disabled 7 Screw loose 4
Mad 7 Stress 4
Unpredictable 7 Violence 4
Insane 6 Brain dead 3
Loony 6 Demanding 3
Mental 6 Demented 3
Schizophrenia 6 Dinlo 3
Thicko 6 Distressed 3
Weird 6 Embarrassed 3
Depressed 5 Flid 3
Different 5 Frustrated 3
Freak 5 Isolated 3
Odd 5 Sad 3
Problem 5 Strait jacket 3
Retard 5 Wheel chairs 3

Table 2: Super-ordinate categories emerging from the terms used

Theme 1 Popular derogatory terms 2 Negative Emotional State 3 Physical Illness or Learning Disability 4 Psychiatric categories 5 Violence 6 Loneliness
Number of instances 114 61 38 15 9 10
Examples Nuts Disturbed Disabled Schizophrenia Scary Isolated
Psycho Confused Spastic Depression Violence Loneliness
Crazy Depression Dumb Psychiatric
Loony Ill Demented
Weird Stress Wheelchairs
Freak Distressed
Screw Loose Embarrassed

Table 3: Terms used by 14 year old school students to refer to mental illness

Abnormal Frustration Not fair Sometimes lacking brain power
Abusive Fucked Not happy Spakka
Alone Funny Not obvious Spanner
Alzheimers Gay Not quite there Spastic
Angry Get lost Not the sharpest knife in the drawer Spaz
Anti-social Gone in the head Numscull Split personality
Asylums Goon Nutcase Spoone
Attention seekers Green room Nutter Stiggy nutter
Autism Halfwit Nuts Stigma
Bewildered Hallucinating Nutty as a fruitcake Strait jackets
Bimbo Hallucinations OCD Strange
Bonkers Hand fed Odd Stress
Brain damage Handicapped Oddball Stressed
Brain dead Happy club Off their rocker Therapist
Breakdown Hard Out of it Therapy
Childish Hard work Outcast Thick
Cola sweat Head banging Padded cells Thicko
Confused Head case Paedophile Thicky
Crackers Helpless Panicked Tiring
Crazy Hurting yourself Paranoid Too much pressure
Cushioned walks Idiot Patch Adams Touchy to talk to
Dangerous Ill People who are obsessed Troubled
Deformed Indecisive Perfectly normal Twisted
Demanding Infixed in bad habits Perverted Twister
Demented Insane Physical problems Ugly
Depressed Insecure Physically ill Unable to make decisions
Depression Intellectually challenged Pills Unappreciated
Deranged Intimidating Pinflump Unapproachable
Difficulty learning Irrational Pive Uncomfortable
Dildo Isolated Plank Under pressure
Dinlo Joe from Eastenders Ponce Understandable
Disabled Jumpy Pressure Unfair
Disarmed Learning difficulties Pressurising families Unfortunate
Disorientated Lonely Problems Unhappy
Distorted Loony Psychiatric Unpredictable
Distressed Loony bin Psychiatric health Unstable
Distressing Loser Psychiatrist Upsetting
Disturbed Lost Psycho Veg
Disturbing Lunatic Psychopath Vegetable
Disturbing images Mad Reject Victim
Div Made fun of Retard Victimised
Dizzy Madness Sad Violence
Doctors Manic depression Sandwich/pepperoni short of a picnic Violent
Dofuss Mass murderers Scared Voices
Dopy M.E. Scared to talk to if they were a murderer or rapist Voices in your head
Downy Mental Scary Vulnerable
Dribbling Mental hospital Schizo Wacky
Drugged-up Mental illness Schizophrenia Wally
Dulally Mental institution Schizophrenic War
Dumb Mentally challenged School can cause it Wheelchair jockey
Embarrassed Mentally handicapped School pressure Weird
Embarrassing Mentally ill Screw loose Weirdo
Empty Misunderstood Screwed Wheel chairs
Escaped from an asylum Mong Sees things in a different way White coats
Excluded More common than you think Segregation Wild
Feel sorry Muppets Self-harm Wild funny noises
Few sandwiches short of a picnic basket Needing help Shock syndrome Window licker
Flid Nervous Shouts Withdrawn
Flip in the head Nightmares Sick in the head World of their own
Freak Non-caring Simple Worried
Fruit cake None caring Simpleton You belong in a home
Frustrated No-one upstairs Some people born mentally ill
Frustrating Not all there Sometimes includes drugs

Source: Rose, Diana et al. “250 labels used to stigmatise people with mental illness.” BMC health services research vol. 7 97. 28 Jun. 2007, doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-97.

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