As COVID-19 comes full circle into a more manageable virus, the opioid crisis, and heroin-addicted mothers are coming to the forefront. Yet, unfortunately, thousands of Americans continue to die from heroin overdose each year. Although the President proclaimed war on opioids, babies continue to be born to addicted mothers, winding up in foster homes nationwide.
Addiction is proven to be generational and contains a genetic component with any substance use disorder. However, the highest vulnerability remains to babies addicted in the womb to heroin. Heroin-addicted mothers give birth to babies who must immediately detox and require critical medical interventions. As much as the mother loves her baby, the drug is too powerful to fight.
Families continue to be destroyed by heroin addiction. For example, parents of heroin-addicted daughters do not always have the resources to care for their babies. In addition, parents may have already spent much of their life savings on treatment for their loved ones. In some cases, heroin-addicted mothers ask for help and go to treatment. It’s a challenging journey.
Heroin Addiction During Pregnancy
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2019 stated that, in 2019, roughly seven percent of pregnant women were using opioid pain medications. Additionally, one in five was abusing opioid medications. Women face complex challenges when abusing opioids. Even without pregnancy, hormonal and menstrual problems, fertility issues, and menopausal complications can occur.
Heroin-addicted mothers can experience severe complications. Heroin use during pregnancy can cause many challenges, including:
- Chance of miscarriage
- Migraine headaches
- Dangerously high blood pressure
- Maternal death
Unborn babies with heroin-addicted mothers can experience the following adverse risks:
- Being born with a substance use disorder
- Poor fetal growth and development
- Premature birth
- Congenital disabilities
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Babies Born Addicted to Heroin
Heroin-addicted mothers are exposing their unborn children to heroin addiction in the womb. Because the addicted mother has heroin in her bloodstream, the fetus has heroin in their bloodstream. Unfortunately, this situation extends to after the birth, when the newborn baby experiences extreme withdrawal. Babies typically stay in the hospital for observation a week after birth for this process. Signs and symptoms of babies born to heroin-addicted mothers can include any of the following:
- Possibility of seizures and tremors
- Difficulties with feeding and gaining weight
- Dysfunctional sleeping habits
Complications After Being Born to a Heroin-Addicted Mother
Babies born to heroin-addicted mothers may continue to experience extended withdrawal symptoms. In addition, babies born to heroin-addicted mothers who continued to use beyond the first trimester are twelve times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than those whose mothers quit before the second trimester. On the other hand, even two weeks after birth, newborns can experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Irritability and excessive high-pitched crying
- Abnormal sucking reflex
- Blotchy skin and bad coloring
- Continued diarrhea
- Stuffy nose and congestion
- Difficulties with weight gain
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Vomiting, sweating, and trembling
There are long-term problems with babies being born to heroin-addicted mothers, and some problems include the worst:
- Death (SIDS)
- Low Birth Weight
- Premature birth
- Small head circumference
Growing Up with a Heroin-Addicted Mother
Children of heroin-addicted mothers are generally forced to become caretakers. Heroin-addicted mothers, lost in their habit, manipulate their children when they need anything. As a result, these children live a dysfunctional lifestyle and witness adverse and traumatic situations. In some severe cases, children are forced to save their mother’s life by calling an emergency when the mother is unresponsive.
Children of heroin-addicted mothers are anxious and depressed. They constantly worry that their mother will die, and if their mom goes to rehab, they cry and miss them tremendously. After, when mom relapses, they feel like it is their fault. It is sad for the child who loses all faith and trust in their parents. The expected results of living with a heroin-addicted mother on the child can be any of the following:
- Feelings of disappointment and fear
- Extreme anxiety
- Emotional trauma
- Physical trauma
- A sense of exploration and experimentation
- Imitation of observed behaviors
- High risk of addiction
- High risk of mental illness
This is another example of the generational risk of addiction when a child lives with a heroin-addicted mother. Being exposed to such a traumatic environment and emotional abuse is a ticket to owning their addiction in the future. In other words, children raised in this environment simply do not understand “normal” life.
Breaking the Heroin Addiction Cycle
Breaking the heroin addiction cycle is complex and highly challenging. However, it is possible to be successful. After all, heroin-addicted mothers can go to treatment and participate in a medically monitored detox with a professional treatment center. In fact, many of these centers use medication-assisted detox to ease withdrawal discomfort.
Family support in treatment requires the family to attend therapy and learn how to support without enabling the addict to relapse. Group therapy options are available for family members to attend to and share their experiences. Therefore, it is essential to remain in a supportive environment and begin to heal as your loved one receives their own treatment.
In treatment, children of heroin-addicted mothers need to attend individual and group therapy. Also, they may be experiencing a mental illness and need to be evaluated for any medical issues from being born addicted. Finally, everyone must learn about setting boundaries and living a sober life. Professional treatment facilities are equipped to treat the entire family.
Find Help in Tennessee with a Heroin-Addicted Mother
If your loved one is a heroin-addicted mother who is pregnant and would like to quit using for the benefit of the unborn child, Detox West can help with a detox program. After all, we offer those living in Tennessee a safe environment to leave heroin behind. Contact us for more information and speak with our information intake specialists today.