I'm looking for a noun to suffix to a condition to refer to the person who has that condition.

Existing words are like:

Cancer patients are subject to chemotherapy which causes them to lose their hair.

The problem with patient is that a patient is someone in the care of a health service, whereas I'm wanting to refer to people who are living with that condition in general.

Suffererers of depression often find that they can not get themselves out of bed in the morning, they feel paralysed.

Sufferer is a loaded term, I don't want to imply that living with the condition is a negative experience.

  • 4
    The phrase person with x is often used.
    – bib
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:31
  • @bib - I think that's actually a reasonable answer - you should post it as an answer.
    – dwjohnston
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:34

4 Answers 4


The phrase person with x or person dealing with x is often used. The terms patient, victim, sufferer and the like all have a significantly negative and helpless connotation that many of us reject. Even survivor is tinged with victimhood that many reject.

We are not defined by our diseases, but are people who happen to be living with (and managing) them.

  • This is the term I'm ending up using.
    – dwjohnston
    Jul 14, 2015 at 0:25

I would go with afflicted.

As a verb, to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously.

  • to be afflicted with arthritis

As a noun, person or persons in constant suffering of body or mind.

  • the afflicted often suffer in silence

You could try: "Those/People diagnosed with 'x'..."


In the psychology world these days there is a movement towards something called " person-first language". Just as the term sounds, you refer to the person first before the disability. Instead of saying a "mentally ill person", or "the mentally ill", you would say " a person with bipolar disorder", or " person with a mental disorder". You are first acknowledging that said person is in fact a human being first, who happens then to be dealing with a disability of some kind. Sorry this is late.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

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