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An Addicted Mothers Harsh Reality

Updated on June 12, 2009

Finding A Few Answers For Addicted Mothers

It is an unfortunate that in our Western culture we have addicted mothers as one of the issues that we regularly have to deal with. Because addicted mothers many times are the head of single-parent homes the stresses on the family situation can be enormous. By some estimates the use of cocaine for instance is a contributing factor in 30,000 to 50,000 babies born each year. The truth is, addicted mothers often need a lot more help dealing with their children in their roles as parent than do other parents in similar situations but without the addictions.

Addicted Mothers And The Effects On Their Children

The saddest part of families with addicted mothers is often the effects on the children. There are some misconceptions about the physical effects of drug addicted mothers on their children after birth. For instance, it is often thought that the prenatal use of cocaine by addicted mothers will have devastating and long-lasting effects. Interestingly, in one study it was shown not to be the case. Of course this should not be taken by anyone to assume that it is safe. It is merely an illustration of some misinformation that is prevalent in our society around the topic of addicted mothers.

Despite the misinformation about addicted mothers just highlighted, there are many situations and many drugs that do have long-term effects on their fetuses and newborn children. Many times addicted mothers using narcotics via injection run the risk of having the HIV virus and at the same time those addicted mothers risk passing on that same virus to their children.

Other risks for addicted mothers that use inhalants, methamphetamine, PCP, steroids, etc. while they are pregnant include developmental effects surrounding the brain, heart, spinal cord and or kidneys. There can also be other complications during the pregnancy that might include developmental issues with their baby being born without fully developed arms or legs and possibly abnormalities like clubfoot.

In particular, it has been pointed out through study that steroids can cause birth defects like cleft palate and low birth weight. It is commonly believed in the scientific community that many medications both over-the-counter and prescription drugs have potentially harmful side effects if taken during pregnancy. Other side of taking drugs during pregnancy can be to cause the fetus to be at risk for other birth defects such as behavioral disorders, gross malformations and mental retardation. Addicted mothers put their unborn babies at great risk because of their behavior.

It is not unusual for the children of addicted mothers to be born with the same addiction and to experience the same effects that their addicted mothers do on a daily basis. For instance a child born addicted to heroin will in fact suffer the same symptoms of withdrawals as any adult would. It is also known, that children born to meth addicted mothers not only are small and very likely to have a slight neuron behavioral challenges but because their nervous systems are changed to become very irritable babies.

One of the least recognized symptoms of children of addicted mothers is when the child is born either prematurely or with low birth weight. But beyond the developmental effects on the child there are effects that may be long-term related to an addicted mothers habit that create an environment that is threatening, abusive and outright harmful.

These children of addicted mothers are the ones that pay the price for being born in this environment but also in many cases will learn the very behavior that put them there and can pass it on to the next generation. Because they lack many of the skills to provide basic support to their children, addicted mothers cannot provide the economic underpinning, a healthy environment, proper education or even acceptable levels of parenting.

Because of these factors one can see how addicted mothers can lead their whole family into an intergenerational feedback loop that keeps them caught in a pattern that leads every successive generation into identical behavior. Every generation of children is likely to have physical, emotional and environmental factors that lead them into the readily available escape of drug use. They are more likely to have problems in school, struggle with behavioral difficulties, often times will drop out of school, experience tumultuous relationships and get caught up in gangs. Unfortunately the gang environment often mirrors that of the home environment for the children born to addicted mothers and anyone else who chooses to participate.

Another factor that is often present in the home of addicted mothers is that of poverty. Poverty in the home often goes hand-in-hand with violence, poor health, birth complications, dysfunctional relationships, and of course the ever present drug abuse.

Addicted Mothers Can Make A Change

Unfortunately one of the most difficult things that addicted mothers can do also is the most necessary thing for them to do in order for this chain of events to a broken. Addicted mothers must stop their drug abuse and began the long road to recovery.

Detoxification, although the first step in this plan is certainly not the only step. Physical detoxification is only the beginning and a step that by itself probably will not necessarily lead to a positive result. Because detoxification doesn't even address the addicted mothers behavior full recovery has only just begun. In most situations it is necessary to get drug recovery professionals involved and in order for complete recovery to be accomplished the addict needs to acquire many new patterns of behavior and tools to deal with that which will arise from time to time. In other words in most cases the addicted mothers are not able to overcome their addiction without help from others.

One of the primary reasons that is so difficult for her drug addicts to overcome their addictions is because there are significant changes that happened in brain functions that have been embedded over sometimes very long periods of time. It's really no surprise that addicted mothers have a hard time with these changes because they are not only battling the cravings for the drugs at also re-stimulated from the environment that they are so used to being in and at the same time their brain functions have been changed in such a way that the patterns are difficult to overcome. We all should be conserned about addicted mothers.

Addicted Mothers In Recovery

Turning My Mothers Drug Problem into Something Positive

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    • profile image

      k-red 6 years ago

      As a recovering addict myself, I honestly believe without the intervention of our Father, who art in heaven, we truly will know no peace with ourselves in order to overcome the devestation of addiction. Healing is so important for recovery. For the whole family. Most can't afford treatment. God is free. Thanks for listening.

    • profile image

      becky HJ 6 years ago

      Have custody of a 7 year old who was a crack baby. The consequences just keep going. I truly believe when a mother test positive of illegal drugs, she should loose her rights immediately. This woman was in her late 30's, and was letting someone else raise her first child. She lost custody at his birth. She has never took care of him. But will not give up her rights so we can adopt him, It is so sad for the child, he needs a permanent family and not the confusion she brings. Right now, she is in jail for breaking probation at 45....I am sorry,,but he can't keep waiting on her.

      She is only a biological mom.....this is not a real mother.

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      MJ_Rox 7 years ago

      omg this is crazy!! why did u do drugs?

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      I thought this was a good and informative article. It is sad that there are addicted mothers out there and unfortunately their kids suffer the consequences.