Treating Substance Use Disorder Among Pregnant Mothers: Why you Need to Tread Carefully as a Mental Health Professional

Treating Substance Use Disorder Among Pregnant Mothers: Why you Need to Tread Carefully as a Mental Health Professional

A healthy pregnancy ensures you and your baby enjoy optimal health and are safeguarded from various potential health concerns. While pregnancy comes with its fair share of complications—nausea, fatigue, swelling, and morning sickness—an additional substance use disorder can make it even more challenging.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that about 5.4 percent of pregnant women used illicit drugs during their pregnancy. As a mental health professional, it’s necessary to identify the life-threatening implications of substance use disorder for pregnant mothers and their babies’ health.

The social stigma

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) has defined opioid use disorders as “a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

Addiction isn’t a choice; it’s an uphill battle that affects 19.7 million American adults. Along with the damage to vital organs and related diseases, substance use disorders bring along a host of psychological concerns.

Pregnant women struggling with substance use disorders are often faced with social stigmatization from medical caregivers, partners, or the people around them. The fear of bringing disgrace and disapproval from the people around them only worsens the experience of these women.

opoid addictionBarrier to treatment

The fear of being seen as unfit or incapable of handling their responsibilities as a mother often holds them back from seeking the help they need. Compassion and support are necessary to help pregnant women with substance use disorders overcome their challenges.

No one can get through these battles alone, especially someone who’s struggling with the additional challenges of early motherhood and pregnancy.

As a mental health professional or social worker, it’s imperative to create a safe space free of judgment and moral outrage—only then can your patient let go of feelings of guilt and fear.

Effective interventions don’t just rely on universally-established treatments that have been proven to work; they also need a support system to walk them through it.

As a mental health professional, expanding your knowledge and ensuring you provide your clients with the help they need is important. E Care Behavioral Health Institute’s CEU for Mental Health Professionals help you provide them with the support they need in trying times. Pregnant mothers struggling with substance use disorders require special attention and effective treatment plans to ensure their own health—and that of their unborn child—is safeguarded.

We believe that continuing education is the key to offering your clients the best mental health care. Our live webinars and recorded webinars help mental health professionals update their knowledge and polish their skills.

Browse through our collection of Webinar CEUs and courses to get started or register for our upcoming webinar on The Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Women with Substance Use Disorders.