ADDICTA: The Turkish Journal on Addictions
Invited Review

The Most Severe Stigma: Stigma Toward Substance Use Disorder


Ege University Institute on Drug Abuse, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science, Izmir, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Ege University School of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey

Addicta 2022; 9: 99-105
DOI: 10.5152/ADDICTA.2022.21112
Read: 124 Downloads: 67 Published: 01 April 2022

Stigma is a concept since Ancient Greece and has been effective in shaping the social structure. Throughout the historical process, chronic, infectious, and mental diseases have been stigmatized by society. Mental illnesses are more severely stigmatized than physical diseases. Stigmatization toward substance use disorder is the first ranked in the world. This situation has been associated with the lack of knowledge about the disease, the terminology and language of the disease, and effects and the criminalization of substance use. When stigmatization against individuals with substance use problem is reflected in health systems, it appears as an important obstacle to treatment. In addition, stigmatization is reflected in systems such as education, law, and economy. Therefore, individuals experience problems and face discrimination in these systems. This situation shows how important stigmatization is in preventing human needs. The impact of social stigma on the individual can lead to self-stigmatization. When people with substance use disorder perceive the stigmatization of society, they internalize and feel guilt and shame. They prefer to hide the illness and self and become socially isolated and lonely. As a result, stigmatization becomes a major problem, creating a vicious circle. The solution to this should be done through structural elements and society.

Cite this article as: Atlam, D., & Coşkunol, H. (2022). The most severe stigma: Stigma toward substance use disorder. Addicta: The Turkish Journal on Addictions, 9(1), 99-105.

ISSN 2148-7286 EISSN 2149-1305