Title: Substance use disorder and stigma: A study of behavioral and age effects.A systematic review.
Author(s): Dr. Abeer Hussien Khayat
Assistant professor of Clinical psychology, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, King Abdulaziz, University, Jeddah
The purpose of this systematic review is to investigate the significance of Substance Use Disorder (SUD), stigma concerning it and its impacts on different age groups in society. This paper wants to address three questions: to establish the relationship between stigma, SUD and age; to identify and evaluate the varying impacts of SUD stigma on different age groups; to review the proof about SUD stigma and age effects in the existing literature and experimental studies conducted to date. In order to conduct a comprehensive systematic research, relative keyword research was carried out in different renowned and reliable medical, psychological and biological databases. The quality scoring system COSMIN checklist was used to identify only satisfactory quality studies for this review. A total of 15 studies were identified and reviewed to address the defined targeted questions. It was found that age is indeed one of the major factors that impacts on stigmatization and in many cases alone defines its intensity. Our research found that the stigma faced by youngsters is greater than what their older counterparts face, and that this stigma also affects their treatment and recovery procedures. Older people suffer less stigma due to an increase in other mental and medical issues, showing that age related stigma effects are not exclusive and are effected by other factors as well. It is evident from the study that annually, on average, only 9% of all American SUD patients get the treatment they require and the rest are left to suffer the consequences without any help. The study was solely based on American population studies. The literature conducted in SUD still does not address the age factor and its impacts satisfactorily, leaving a lot of unexplored territory. Only 6 studies out of the selected 15 were age-based, and others were highly influenced by factors other than those influencing stigma. It is essential for proper and prosperous treatment procedures to have an in-depth insight into what devastates drug addicts. For that purpose, there is still a lot of research to be done to make this achievable, and make similar progress in this field as in other medical fields.