(Neuro)science and alcohol dependence syndrome related stigma

author: Mirjana Radovanović, Univerzitetna psihiatrična klinika Ljubljana
published: Sept. 7, 2015,   recorded: May 2015,   views: 1344


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Addiction as a brain disease is a broadly accepted concept. Nonetheless alcohol dependence syndrome (as defined in ICD-10) or alcohol use disorder (as defined in DSM V) is the one with the highest level of stigma among mental disorders. This finding is similar across countries and continents. The bio-psycho-social model of understanding addiction increased awareness about the disease, provided a background for securing some funding by the health insurance companies of the addiction treatment programs and is supported by the results of numerous scientific studies, particularly from the 1990s onward. This presentation does not provide an extensive literature review. Rather, it will address some clinically relevant factors contributing to the high level of stigma attached to addiction and alcohol dependence syndrome in particular. Basic neurosciences on one end inform more clinically oriented studies on the other end of the scientific spectrum, all of which in turn provide some insight into a very complex phenomenon of stigma underpinning beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, which medical professionals bring into everyday practice.

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