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.