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Why are older women at a greater risk for substance use disorders?

Older women are at greater risk for substance use disorders in part because tolerance levels decrease as people age. Some studies suggest that older women are at greater risk for developing a substance use disorder even if they use smaller amounts than younger women. Yet this is often a hidden problem, going undetected by healthcare professionals, family and friends. Substance abuse symptoms in older women are often erroneously attributed to other factors, such as anxiety or depression.

Also, older women are less likely to discuss their alcohol use or misuse of prescription drugs with their healthcare provider, in part because of the stigma their generation attached to alcoholism and mental disorders. Additionally, healthcare providers are less likely to address addiction problems in this population.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.