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There are a few different segments of overall addiction treatment. The first, and sometimes the most difficult step is detoxification. It can be one of the most arduous steps in large part due to the fact that this is the time that the person is required to halt the intake of substances. They then have to endure the accompanying withdrawal symptoms as the drugs or alcohol is dispensed from their system. Since this can often be very hard and stressful on the body, it can be concerning for pregnant women and their unborn child to have to go through this process. And while there can be different precautions that need to be taken with pregnant women, it is still possible for them to successfully get through detox.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pregnant woman can technically detox during any stage of pregnancy, though no accelerants of the detox process, such as naloxone or naltrexone should be used. The reality is that for pregnant women, as well as others in general, detox should be done safely within a proper medical or treatment setting. Especially in the case of pregnant women, this should be a necessity. If any dangers or health risks to the mother or child arise, there needs to be medical supervision available to be able to handle these things so that both can be safe.
Recommendations for Handling Particular Substances
WHO also recommends different handlings depending on the substance that the pregnant woman is struggling with. For instance, when it comes to opiates, they recommend inpatient opioid maintenance treatment, as opposed to attempting opioid detox. They recommend the use of methadone or buprenorphine for the maintenance program.
When it comes to benzodiazepine addiction, WHO recommends that employing long-acting benzodiazepines for the purpose of gradual dose reduction is the best course of action. They also state that inpatient care should be considered when managing benzo withdrawal in pregnant women. Benzos can, in fact, be very dangerous to detox from when an individual attempts to do it on their own without medical supervision and care.
As for alcohol, they recommend managing withdrawal symptoms by short-term use of a long acting benzodiazepine. They state that the management of withdrawal from alcohol typically can include administering thiamine as well. Alcohol can have extremely violent withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous to a mother and her unborn child, such as seizures, delirium, and insomnia. This is why proper and safe detox from alcohol is critical. WHO recommends considering inpatient care during alcohol withdrawal management.
When it comes to stimulants, just like the rest of their recommendations, WHO recommends that inpatient care is considered for detox. Though, with stimulants, psychopharmacological medications are not typically required for withdrawal management. They state, “Except for the management of acute intoxication, withdrawal management in amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) dependence or cocaine dependence does not include psychopharmacological medications as a primary approach to treatment in pregnant patients. There is no evidence that medication-assisted withdrawal would benefit pregnant women with these respective disorders.”
Barriers for Pregnant Women Seeking Help With An Addiction
A large difficulty that many pregnant women face when it comes to addiction treatment is the stigma of the situation. Rather than working to assist these addicted women, society often reproves, criticizes, and condemns them for endangering the life of their child. And while it is unfortunate that the lives of these unborn children and their mothers are in danger, being critical of the addict does nothing to assist the problem. These women need assistance in the form of treatment, just like any other struggling addict. And while detox is a critical first step and foundation for treatment, it is best for anyone struggling with an addiction to follow this up with a full addiction treatment program. That way, they can address the factors aside from physical dependence as well.
What to Do When Seeking Treatment for an Addiction
The battle with an addiction can be a very long and arduous one for an individual to go through. It can require help from a treatment center for an individual to be able to finally overcome it. Finding the right fit in a treatment center is a critical factor in the individual having the best chance at success. Being that treatment centers can vary widely in their offerings, as well as their success, the addict and their family need to be able to make an informed choice. Our organization can help by explaining the different types of treatment and facilities that are around the country, as well as helping to find a facility that will fit whoever is struggling. Give us a call today, and we will help you or your loved one take the first steps on the road to sobriety.