The Pros And Cons Of Substance Abuse

Submitted By ggoutier123
Words: 504
Pages: 3

There are no age limits when it comes to substance abuse. Girls as young as 10 or 11 can be found in treatment centers, as can women in their 70s and 80s. "Addiction among older women is hidden in their own shame, swept under the rug of denial of family members and lost in the shadows of medical practice," says Susan Foster, director of policy research for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASE) at Columbia University in New York City. "We aren't looking for the problem, and we don't recognize it when it stares us in the face." However, even when an underlying medical issue is staring us in the face, is our first intuition to get it treated? Or is it to let the issue simmer until our bodies boil over?
Truth be told, doctors rarely know when a substance abuse problem occurs off top hand. A two-year survey of 400 primary care physicians found that less than 1 percent even considered a substance abuse diagnosis when typical signs of alcohol or drug abuse in older women were described to them. I repeat, less than 1 percent! What then, are these “licensed physicians” being paid to do? Instead, they were more likely to diagnose women with depression and prescribe medications that could aggravate any existing substance abuse. In basic terms, they took the easy way out by prescribing these women with drugs on top of drugs to temporarily alleviate their pain, instead of finding out the source of their pain.
"Symptoms of substance abuse in mature women are attributed to other conditions such as anxiety or depression, hidden by women who are in denial, ashamed or afraid of being labeled a ‘junkie,' and tolerated by friends and family who let granny have her tranquilizer because it makes her feel good and easier to be around," says Linda Simoni-Wastila, PhD, director of the Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.