Substance Abuse Among Older Women
Pp. 105-135 (31)
John Orwat, Amanda Besinger and Elizabeth Morgan
As the baby boomer generation ages, the problem of substance abuse
continues to grow among older adults in America. Older women remain one of the
most vulnerable among those affected by substance misuse, abuse, and addiction, yet
this population remains misunderstood, stigmatized, and overlooked. Unique life
changes experienced by older women contribute to the difficulty in identification of
substance misuse and abuse within this population. Such experiences include loss of
loved ones, loneliness, physiological changes, financial stress, pain management, and
other co-occurring mental and physical health conditions. Alcohol remains one of the
most prevalent and relevant substances older women use to cope with these changes.
This chapter explores the major issues surrounding alcohol abuse among older women
by defining the problem, identifying key risk factors, signs, and symptoms, outlining
useful screening and treatment tools, and providing implications for future research on
this critical yet overlooked issue.
Alcohol abuse, Coping, Older women, Substance abuse.
School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, USA.