Substance Use Disorder In Women – What You Need To Know
While just about anyone can experience substance abuse disorder, it’s quite different with women. This can be influenced by natural biology as well as culturally defined gender roles. We want to talk a little bit about what you need to know when it comes to substance-abuse and women. This includes things like coping with pain, effects substance abuse can have on the body as well as syndromes that can come along with it.
Long Term Effects of Substance Abuse
If someone is abusing substances for a long period of time it can result in a lot of organ damage. This can affect the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, or liver. Depending on the substance one is using the results can be incredibly severe, including death.
It’s important to know that some of the long-term effects of substance abuse isn’t just physical. There are a lot of mental health issues that can come from abusing certain substances. People may begin to experience paranoia, anxiety, depression, psychosis, and dissociative disorders.
Substance Abuse While Pregnant
One of the biggest concerns that surround women and substance abuse is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or NAS. This is a condition caused when a baby has to withdrawal from specific drugs that here she is exposed to in the womb. The most common drugs that cause neonatal abstinence syndrome are opioids.
In general, babies with NAS will receive treatment in the hospital after they are born. It is common for babies to get healthier within just a few days to a few weeks.
Unfortunately, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome long term effects may occur. There is quite a range of long-term effects that can affect a child for the first few years of their life or even longer. This can be something like vision problems, sleep problems, ear infections, motor skill issues, and more.
They may also have speech and language issues, developmental delays, and may also experience behavior and learning problems.
What You Can Do
If your baby has NAS, there are treatment options available. A healthcare professional may give your baby medicine to help with the withdrawal symptoms. They may also get an IV of fluid, so they don’t experience dehydration. Also, they may be fed a higher calorie baby formula to help them grow.
So what can you do to help your baby? One of the easiest things you can do is to swaddle your baby in a blanket. They also enjoy skin to skin contact. It may be important to keep the lights in the room quite dim as well as not have any noises that are too loud. You can call me your baby by giving them a pacifier as well as breastfeeding them. Make sure you’re gentle and patient with your child, as this can help soothe them during this hard time.
Lastly, the best thing you can do is avoid abusing substances in the first place, while this is much easier said than done, this is the best way you can ensure health for yourself and your child.