Substance abuse is harmful on many different levels, more so when you are pregnant. Pregnant women can pass on harmful toxins and wastes collected from prolonged use of drugs or other substances to the unborn baby. Not only that, continued use of drugs during pregnancy can lead to complications and birth defects in the child. So, if you are going to be a mother and want to give birth to a normal child, you should start drug treatment as early as possible.
Drug abuse is a severe problem in India. Statistics show that more than 2.6 crore Indians have used opioids or are still using them, and the number is still increasing. Continued use of drugs can not only have a serious impact on the mother but on the child as well. So, if you do not want your child to have a bleak future, it’s high time that you abstain from drug abuse.
How to abstain from drug use during pregnancy?
Drug use can be highly addictive, and getting out of it can be difficult, especially if you have been addicted to it for too long. The best way to come clean is to opt for medical detox, which is essential for the good health of the baby. However, you cannot do this on your own. You need to go to a rehabilitation centre in Delhi where doctors and healthcare professionals can suggest the best route for you.
Simply stopping the use of drugs for the sake of your unborn child may seem to be the right thing to do. However, that can be very dangerous, medically and psychologically, for you and the child. Pregnant women need 24*7 monitoring and care to ensure that any withdrawal symptom is treated efficiently, with or without medicine. Also, the vital signs of the patient need monitoring as they can fluctuate during detox and abstinence.
What is medical drug detox?
Drug detox is the first step of any drug treatment. Consumption of drugs regularly leads to the build-up of wastes and toxins in the body. To start any rehabilitation process, it is essential to cleanse the body of these residues from drug abuse. That is why rehabilitation centres begin the process with medical detox.
During this period (usually a week), the person is kept under continuous monitoring and care so that there is no further abuse of the substance. If necessary, medications are given to counteract the withdrawal symptoms that may occur during detox. That said, drug detox during pregnancy can be critical and sensitive and must be carried out under good medical supervision.
Healthcare professionals will minutely observe other medical or mental issues that you may have. This will help them devise the right rehabilitation program for you. Mental support is significant during the detox and rehabilitation phase, and rehabs have experts to take care of mood swings, bouts of anxiety and depression, and other symptoms. If needed, medications will be given to control severe withdrawal symptoms. Medications required will depend a lot on the type of drug abused, the duration of abuse, the dependency on the substance, response to detox, and many more.
In fact, most pregnant women need frequent doses of medications during detox. This is because the metabolism rate in pregnant women is much higher than in regular patients. As such, patients have to be kept under close observation to prevent any life-threatening situation.
Concerns while detoxing during pregnancy
While detoxing at a rehabilitation centre in Delhi is essential for the good health of the baby, there are certain things to be aware of:
1. Opioid withdrawal can lead to respiratory depression. This means the unborn baby will not get enough oxygen during withdrawal, and this can cause fetal death. Moreover, opioid addicts go through withdrawal symptoms like depression and anxiety, which become intense due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.
2. Withdrawal symptoms for stimulant drugs usually exhibit in the form of depression, unhappiness, drug cravings, suicidal tendency, etc. During pregnancy, these symptoms worsen due to psychological and physiological changes. Thus, patients may exhibit severe depression, prolonged unhappiness, and self-harm tendencies.
3. Withdrawal from sedative or anti-anxiety drugs can cause symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, seizures, restlessness, high blood pressure, and heart rate, etc. All these can be very dangerous, even fatal for the mother and the fetus.
Creating a better life for you and the baby
While drug detox and abstinence are essential for the excellent health of the baby, that’s not the end of it. You need help and support to cope with the challenges of the future. That’s why a holistic approach is essential. This can include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Yoga therapy
- Family therapy
- Meditation therapy
Drug addiction can steal the best moments of your life unless you put your foot down very early. So, if you are pregnant and addicted, be strong and take the right decision to lead a drug-free life.
This blog was reviewed by Dr. Anant (MBBS, DNB Psychiatry), a Consultant Psychiatrist at Safe House Premium. He has written articles for print media like NDTV and has recently written on Mental Health effects due to COVID. Dr. Anant specializes in treating Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, and de-addiction and rehabilitation of Alcohol and Drug dependence syndrome.