Although drug abuse among prenatal women is not common, the detrimental effects for women who do abuse drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can last for generations. As the abuse of opiate drugs including heroin and pain medications has escalated in recent years, so has the rise of prenatal addiction for these substances.
According to a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, young women aged 15 to 25 had the highest rate of prenatal substance abuse. This study surveyed women who used substances such as alcohol, nicotine, and other substances of abuse like heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Clearly significant were their higher risks of miscarriage, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, low birth weights, birth defects and drug withdrawal for both the mother and the fetus. More difficult to measure are the long term effects that prenatal drug abuse has on children – since other factors, like family stability, socio-economic conditions and child neglect or abuse, also play a role.
Horizon Health Services provides comprehensive treatment services designed to address prenatal addiction. This includes working closely with a women’s medical providers to ensure coordination of her behavioral health and medical care.
After delivery it is not uncommon for women to experience Postpartum Mood Disorders. These disorders are often triggered by intense changes in hormone levels and environmental stresses. Women with histories of mental illness or substance abuse have a higher chance to experience them. There are several symptoms associated with Postpartum Mood Disorders but a few characteristic ones are a pervasive sense of sadness, loss of interest and enjoyment in life, sleep disturbances, weight gain or loss, thoughts of worthlessness, and withdrawal from family and friends. Horizon offers individual and group counseling services and other supports to help women recover from postpartum depression.
If you or a loved one is currently pregnant or struggling with postpartum symptoms or depression, and would like to speak with a counselor, call Horizon’s Admission Department at 831-1800 to get effective and confidential help. Horizon is the largest and most comprehensive outpatient provider of integrated mental health, chemical dependency and medical services in WNY.