Alcohol and drug use in pregnancy affect mother and baby alike. Depending on the substance, risks and consequences vary between low birth weight, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, miscarriage and even stillbirth. Apart from the physical and neurological defects, newborns also suffer from opioid dependence.
Why Medical Detox?
The safest and easiest way to discontinue substance abuse is through medical detox and it is vital to pregnant women. During detoxification, toxins are removed from the body through a program that lasts from a fewn days to a few weeks. Medical detox is different, because a 24/7 supervision from medical professionals is involved. It may also use medication to curb cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms. You can check out the history of this treatment method here.
The use of medication-assisted detox should be very carefully monitored when used on pregnant women, because the lack of proper medical knowledge and wrongful application of prescription drugs can exacerbate the situation and create dangerous complications for the fetus.
Possible Withdrawal Complications
Different substances mean different withdrawal symptoms and possible associated issues. The length of use and method of application, together with the individual lifestyle and genetic factors all contribute to the big picture. The basic assumption is, however, that the more dependent a person is, the more severe the symptoms when abuse is abruptly discontinued.
Stopping some mind-altering substances “cold turkey” is not recommended, because the brain immediately tries to restore balance, and this results in withdrawal symptoms, which affect both physiology and psyche.
Stopping heroin and opioid prescription drugs can be likened to a really bad case of flu-like symptoms.
It involves joint and muscle pain, sweating, chills, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia and restlessness. Find the full list at Detox.com
Abrupt opioid withdrawal can lead to a shortage of oxygen supply to the fetus and have a fatal result. Psychologically, symptoms include anxiet and depression, which are further exacerbated by the effect of pregnancy hormones.
Withdrawal Symptoms With Different Substance Types
Cocaine and stimulant withdrawal usually leads to an emotional turmoil. The addicted person would go from a feeling of extreme euphoria to severe depression, intense substance cravings and suicidal thoughts.
Sudden discontinued use of alcohol when a dependence is already present, can cause hallucinations, delirium, confusion, and be life-threatening to the mother and baby. In the case of a more moderate dependence, symptoms include headaches, dizziness, anxiety, nausea and insomnia, among others.
Benzodiazepines have a sedative effect, which depresses the functions of the central nervous system.
Dependence can be formed even with short-term legitimate medical use, and their sudden removal causes withdrawal-induced anxiety, insomnia, depression and seizures.
The Safety Provided By Medical Detox
Individually-tailored medical detox targeted at the circumstances and needs of the particular woman is considered the only safe and fast way to resolve an addiction. While it is only logical and tempting to discontinue the substance intake as soon as a woman finds out about her pregnancy, it turns out that doing so has a lot of repercussions and endangers the mother and baby alike.
Medical detox can be either inpatient or outpatient. For pregnant women it is advisable to undergo an inpatient detox program in order to provide constant medical supervision, process safety, and prevent self-harm inflicted by the individual themselves under the influence of withdrawal symptoms.