“I Genuinely Believe This Is the Most Stigmatised Group within the Social Care Sector”—Health and Social Care Professionals’ Experiences of Working with People with Alcohol-Related Brain Damage: A Qualitative Interview Study

Peter Johan Kruithof, William McGovern, Catherine Haighton*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Appropriate diagnosis, treatment and care contribute to better service engagement, improvements to wellbeing, cost savings and reductions in morbidity and mortality for people with alcohol-related brain damage. In Northeast England, large amounts of alcohol are consumed; this is reflected in the number of alcohol-related deaths in the region. However, the pathway for people with alcohol-related brain damage to receive diagnosis, treatment and care is unknown and could be unwittingly influenced by stigma. Qualitative, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were completed with 25 health and social care professionals from organizations involved with people with alcohol-related brain damage recruited via snowball sampling. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded, and analysed. People with alcohol-related brain damage were found to be stigmatised by both society and professionals, inhibiting their entry into services. Therefore, alcohol-related brain damage remains underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. There was found to be no dedicated service; silos with revolving doors and underfunded generic care with long waiting lists typically exclude those with alcohol-related or neurological problems. Reducing stigmatising processes associated with alcohol-related brain damage could counteract professionals’ reluctance to provide care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023

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