How to Treat Addiction and Other Mental Health Issues During Pregnancy

Addiction is not a pretty word. Whether we like it or not, addiction is someone’s truth, someone’s battle, and it’s high time we removed the stigma from discussing this prevalent health problem. As much as we need to put emphasis on the physical wellbeing of future moms, which is what we do in this case as well, their mental and emotional health is equally vital. Since addiction typically stems from an emotional or psychological culprit, we can make a difference by addressing all potential aspects of this issue from the perspective of a pregnant woman.

Keep in mind that both the future mom and her child are in danger here, so treating addiction as well as a wide range of mental health issues that can be connected to addiction takes time, patience, and above all – love. Let’s help our future moms find a healthier beginning in their lives and start this very important discussing to acknowledge a growing problem among women everywhere.

Understanding the condition

Preparing to have a baby comes with many different challenges, as much as it is rewarding and beautiful, it tests your abilities like no other chapter in your life. Oversimplifying the issue or brushing it off as temporary can only deepen the consequences. If you, or a momma-to-be you know and love suffers from depression, she is also at risk of resorting to opioids to handle all those rushing emotions during pregnancy.

Then again, women who struggle with addiction often experience accompanying mental health troubles, including anxiety, depression, and sometimes the bipolar disorder. Reaching for the bottle or any other drug for that matter in order to soothe your troubled soul is merely masking the underlying issue. However, the more you learn and educate yourself, the more you’ll be able to understand and find the most appropriate treatment to make sure you and your baby are safe and healthy.

Pain management in pregnancy

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While the causative relationship between mental health issues and addiction is complex, and one of those “chicken or the egg” situations, some pregnant women face addiction from an entirely different perspective. Expecting mothers often experience acute pain during pregnancy (the likes of a kidney stone), which means they get prescription medication and use small doses of opioids for their condition.

In these scenarios, future moms need to go through opiate detox while pregnant in order to reduce any damaging effects of the said opioids on the health of their baby. This typically involves using a substitute medication with milder effects, but also behavioral therapy to make sure the expecting mom doesn’t relapse. This is yet another reason why it’s vital to understand the underlying condition that is causing mental health troubles as well as addiction.

Introducing healthy habits

In order to battle addiction or any other mental health issue for that matter, you need to have a strong foundation of health. Of course, this is best done with professional help, so it’s key to talk to your doctor and make sure that your diet and your activity levels are optimal both for you and your baby.

With that in mind, building healthy habits takes time, dedication, and consistency. While it’s impossible to switch to an entirely new eating regime overnight or become enthusiastic about your workout program, it’s best to think of it as, literally, baby steps. One day at a time, and with supervision, you can implement new habits that will rebuild your health and give you the energy and stability you need to heal.

A systematic approach

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They say that recognizing and admitting that you have a problem is half the battle. Unfortunately, the split is not so generous when it comes to addiction, as you have a long journey ahead in order to make sure that you don’t go back to your old habits, find unhealthy alternatives, or relapse completely. The key piece of the rehabilitation puzzle is therapy.

By talking to someone who is experienced in helping people overcome mental health issues and addiction, you will slowly learn how to take better care of yourself. Behavioral therapy, regular conversations, and building a steady routine will be your stepping stones to health. As a future mom, you cannot afford to take this issue lightly, so you need to tackle it head-on, with as much help and support as you may need.

You can build a future without addiction for yourself and your baby. Look to these tips as a brief guide and make sure you always ask for help and professional support.

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