n African Journal of Psychiatry - Addiction psychiatry : guest editorial

Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



Psychiatry has a long history of having to justify its place, as a discipline, in mainstream medicine. As the focus becomes more biological and knowledge more scientific, it would be expected that stigma towards those suffering from mental illness would decrease. However, this is not the case. While there seems to be increasing acceptance of depression, for example, as an illness rather than a personal weakness, addiction, unfortunately, has not made the transition and has remained in the domain of social welfare agencies. This has resulted in substance use disorders often being managed from a moral rather than clinical / scientific standpoint. The result is the entrenchment of stigma and poor access to health services for addicts. With the scientific progression to the medicalization of addictions, opposition from many nonscientific quarters has been strong.

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