Maternal Mental Health Matters – Let’s Break the Stigma around Perinatal Addiction

happy family without drugs photoMums matter – that’s the theme for UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week 2019. The aim is to raise awareness of mental illness in pregnancy and after childbirth, supporting women who suffer. At Addiction Helper, we want to reach out to all women with perinatal addiction. It’s vital to break the stigma about addiction in pregnancy and early motherhood – because so often, stigma prevents women from getting the help they need.

If you’re addicted during pregnancy or in early motherhood, we have 3 essential messages for you about perinatal addiction. On World Maternal Mental Health Day, we hope we can relieve some of the pressure that you’re feeling. Your health matters as much as the health of your unborn or newborn child. We want every mum who is addicted to feeling confident about seeking addiction help, the moment she needs it. Please, don’t feel ashamed or frightened to speak out; addiction in pregnancy or early motherhood causes so much suffering and claims lives.

We’ll also explain in this blog the care you should expect from addiction treatment services and other healthcare professionals. If you want to recover from perinatal addiction, you deserve high-quality treatment and timely support. Please call Addiction Helper today for a confidential assessment and private addiction treatment options in the UK and overseas.

3 Messages for Mums about Perinatal Addiction

1. You didn’t set out to get addicted – so don’t blame yourself

Addiction is an illness that needs specialist treatment. It doesn’t matter whether your addiction developed before, during or after having children. You deserve good and qualified help.

Addiction in pregnancy or early motherhood can develop and escalate very quickly. This is particularly the case if you have a co-existing mental illness such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.

Pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging times in life. Even if you were in the best of health before getting pregnant, the changes you go through and the responsibilities associated with having a baby could be overwhelming.

2. Addiction thrives in isolation – so don’t be alone

Whatever your circumstances, addiction is a frightening condition. Addiction is particularly punishing if you isolate yourself from supportive people. Without anyone to talk to who understands addiction and how to recover, you can feel even more compelled to use.

It can also feel isolating when people give you advice about addiction – but you don’t have any real support to change. Well-meaning friends or family might tell you to stop drinking or taking drugs, for example, for the sake of your child or children. However hard you try, it’s impossible to stay sober or drug-free for long. You might start to hide the truth from people you know because you don’t want to be criticised.

To detoxify safely from substances, it’s essential to get professional help with medical supervision as soon as possible. If you want help to recover from addiction in pregnancy and early motherhood, you deserve nothing less than specialist treatment from qualified doctors, nurses and addiction therapists.

In recovery, it’s also very beneficial to build a supportive peer group of recovering addicts, people you can talk to about addiction so you can stay well.

3. Good things will come in addiction recovery – so don’t be afraid to get help

Most addicts are frightened about what will happen if they ask for addiction help. What will sober life be like? How will you cope without your addictive habit? Will you get into trouble or difficulties if you admit the problem? Fears like these are widespread amongst pregnant women and new mums who are addicted.

We want to reassure you on this point. The vast majority of recovering addicts describe great relief when they accept help with addiction. Finally, they can talk about what’s going on to people who completely understand them. Some clinicians have the right skills to help them. Life gets better without their addiction, and good things start to happen, which makes a recovery worth working for on tougher days.

3 Essentials for Perinatal Addiction Treatment – What Mums Should Expect

1. Confidential and respectful help for perinatal addiction

What stops so many pregnant women and new mums getting help with addiction is fear of judgment or reprisals. You might be going it alone, trying to manage your addiction by yourself. Your motivation to hide your addiction might be directly connected to wanting to protect your child or children.

If you’re using prescription drugs, alcohol or illegal drugs to cope with mental distress or illness, then you might be apprehensive about seeking help, worried about the impact on your family. Equally, if you’re in the grips of a process addiction – such as gambling, an eating disorder or love addiction – then it can be hard to know who has the specialist knowledge to help you.

If you’re pregnant, you have probably been given some information about the effects of alcohol and drugs on your unborn child. While this is vital to know, it may increase the pressure you feel to hide a substance addiction. It might feel unsafe to talk to healthcare professionals about how much you’re drinking or using drugs.

If you’re finding it hard to talk to your GP, antenatal team, midwife or other healthcare workers about addiction, please call Addiction Helper for a confidential and non-judgmental assessment. We advise thousands of people every year on the most effective addiction treatment for their circumstances. There are affordable options across the country and abroad, to suit your needs.

2. Flexible addiction treatment for pregnant women or new mums

Excellent quality addiction treatment services provide personalised care. Your situation and needs must be thoroughly assessed so that the most effective treatment plan can be delivered. This will give you the best chance of long term addiction recovery.

Pregnant mums and women in early motherhood have very specific and complex needs around healthcare, for example, which must be central to addiction treatment plans. You also may have specific concerns or requests around family visits or therapy, during your addiction treatment programme. Some rehabs specialise in supporting the family unit, including having counselling sessions with relatives. These sessions can reduce conflict and build new understanding in the family, clarifying what you need to do to stay safe and well.

3. Specialist care for dual diagnosis in pregnancy or early motherhood

Addiction in pregnancy and early motherhood is often directly connected to mental illness. People with depression, anxiety or conditions such as schizophrenia, psychosis or bipolar disorder, may develop an addictive disorder as a coping mechanism.

Pregnant women and new mothers with a dual diagnosis, such as alcohol addiction and post-natal depression, need access to the right doctors, therapies and medication where necessary – to facilitate safe detoxification and effective rehabilitation in the long term.

Addiction Helper can advise you today on treatment facilities with the right expertise to treat dual diagnosis.

Please reach out for help as soon as possible with perinatal addiction. A new life in recovery from addiction is available to you. Addiction Helper advisors are here to take your call. All enquiries are confidential.

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