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Pregnancy And Drugs

A Double Whammy of Danger

When a woman becomes pregnant, it is vital for her to have a healthy lifestyle: exercising regularly, eating nourishing food and getting plenty of rest. It is also imperative that she avoid anything that can harm her or her baby to be. It is extremely important to give up drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

For a pregnant woman, drug abuse is two times as dangerous than normal. First, drugs may harm her own health, interfering with her ability to support the pregnancy. Second, most drugs can directly impair prenatal development.

Which Drugs are Dangerous?

Virtually all illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, pose dangers to a pregnant woman. Legal substances, like tobacco, alcohol and medical drugs (over-the-counter or prescription) are dangerous and can be harmful. For her own health and the health of her baby to be, a woman should avoid all of them as much as possible, from the time she first plans to become pregnant or is made aware of the fact that she is pregnant.

Drugs and the Stages of Pregnancy

Most drugs can be harmful when used at any time during pregnancy. Others, however, are particularly damaging at specific stages.

The Organ Formation Stage

Most of the baby’s body organs and systems are formed within the first ten weeks or so of pregnancy (determined from the date of the last menstrual period). Through the course of this stage, some drugs and alcohol in particular can cause malformations of such parts ot the developing fetus. This includes the heart, the limbs and the facial features.

The Prenatal Growth Stage

Upon entering the Eleventh week, the fetus will grow rapidly in weight and size. At this point, certain drugs may damage organs that are still developing, such as the eyes, as well as the nervous system. Continuing drug use also increases the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. But the greatest danger drugs pose at this stage is their potential to interfere with normal growth. Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is most likely to result in a low birth weight baby born too early, too small, or both. Low birth weight babies require special care and run a much higher risk of severe health problems or even death.

The Stage of Birth

Some drugs will be especially harmful a the end of pregnancy. They can make delivery much more difficult or even dangerous, ot they can create health problems for the newborn baby.

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs for pregnant women, especially in the early weeks. In the mother’s body, alcohol breaks down chemically to a cell-damaging compound that is readily absorbed by the fetus. Heavy drinking during early pregnancy greatly increases the risk of a cluster of birth defects known as fetal alcohol syndrome. This cluster includes a small skull (microcephaly), abnormal facial features, and heart defects, often accompanied by impeded growth and mental retardation. Heavy drinking in later pregnancy may also impede growth.

It is not known whether light to moderate drinking can produce these effects. However, even if the risk is low, the stakes are very high. Medical experts agree that a woman should avoid alcohol entirely when she decides to become pregnant, or at least when the first signs of pregnancy appear. Even such mild beverages as beer and wine coolers should be off limits.

Tobacco

Smoking during pregnancy appears to raise the risk of miscarriage or premature labor. But the primary danger is hindered fetal growth. Nicotine depresses the appetite at a time when a woman should be gaining weight, and smoking reduces the ability of the lungs to absorb oxygen. The fetus, deprived of sufficient nourishment and oxygen, may not grow as fast or as much as it should.

Cocaine & Methamphetamine

Cocaine (including crack) and methamphetamine (speed, or ice) are powerful stimulants of the central nervous system. They suppress the mother’s appetite and exert other drastic forces on her body, causing the blood vessels to constrict, the heart to beat faster, and the blood pressure to soar. The growth of the fetus may be hindered, and there are higher risks of miscarriage, premature labor, and a condition called abruptio placenta (the partial separation of the placenta from the uterus wall, causing bleeding).

If these drugs are taken late in pregnancy, the baby may be born drug dependent and suffer withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and sucking difficulties. Some experts believe learning difficulties may later develop.

Heroin & Other Narcotics

Heavy narcotics use increases the danger of premature birth with such accompanying problems for the infant as low birth weight, breathing difficulties, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and bleeding within the head (intracranial hemorrhage).

The babies of narcotics-dependent mothers are often born dependent themselves and suffer withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, vomiting and diarrhea, and joint stiffness.

Women who inject narcotics may become infected with the HIV virus from dirty needles and may subsequently develop AIDS. HIV-infected women obviously run a high risk of passing the virus on to their babies.

Inhalants

At least one inhaled substance has been clearly connected with birth defects. The organic solvent toluene, widely used in paints and glues, appears to cause malformations like those produced by alcohol (which is itself an organic solvent). It is possible that all organic solvents may cause birth defects.

PCP

PCP (phencyclidine, or angel dust) taken late in pregnancy can cause newborns to have withdrawal symptoms, such as lethargy alternating with tremors.

Marijuana

Studies of marijuana use by pregnant women are inconclusive, because marijuana is often used with other drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol. Like them, it is associated with premature birth and low-birth weight babies.

Medications

Many medications have side effects that are potentially harmful during pregnancy, but their benefits may outweigh their risks. A woman should consult her doctor or midwife before taking any drug, even one sold over the counter. Below are a few examples of medical drugs that must be used with extreme caution or avoided altogether.

  • Antimigraine drugs, such as ergotamine and methysergide, are used to head off migraine attacks but raise the risk of premature labor.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane) and etretinate (Tegison) are used to treat chronic acne and psoriasis. They may cause chronic malformations during the stage of organ development.
  • Anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamezapine (Tegretol), are used to prevent epileptic seizures. They are associated with defects of the heart and face, as well as mental retardation.
  • Anticoagulant drugs based on coumarin are used in the treatment of heart disease and stroke, to slow blood clotting. Taken during early pregnancy, they are associated with facial malformations and mental retardation. Later on they raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interfere with blood clotting and increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding for both mother and baby. Toward the end of pregnancy, they hinder production of the hormones that stimulate labor, so that labor may be dangerously delayed or extended.

Links:

More information on Pregnancy and Drug Use: http://www.freedomtreatmentcenter.com/pregnancy-and-drug-use/

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Social Intervention

By Anonymous

If you or someone you know has experienced the effects of drug addiction, I am assuming that you have seen the television show Intervention. The popular show on A. & E. chronicles the attempts of family and friends to persuade a loved one with a substance abuse problem to enter treatment.  Though they may be reluctant to go, it is for them a black and white personal decision.  The question they are faced with is “Do I want to go?” not “Am I financially able to go?” If the person agrees, it’s done and there are no further considerations.  The person suffering is whisked away to a quality treatment center where they are able to receive the services they require.  Unfortunately, for the large majority of Americans without access to large amounts of disposable income or Hollywood connections this road to rehabilitation is in stark contrast to reality.  For them it means mortgages, loans, credit card debt, reliance on family and friends, or seeking the assistance of an inferior, government funded treatment center.  In light of the fact that there are over 30,000,000 addicts and alcoholics in America, why do many find it so difficult to obtain competent treatment?  The fact is that rehabilitation is an extremely expensive proposition.  The care required costs tens of thousands of dollars, which is far from feasible for the average American.

The cost of addiction to the American taxpayer is estimated at over $400 BILLION annually.  This translates to over $1312.00 in taxes per citizen to provide State and Federal law enforcement, government funded rehabilitation, incarceration and oversight of drug offenders, and social services to the addicts and their families.  This occurs while drug arrests have risen exponentially and addiction rates have plateued at between 9% and 10%.  A clue to this static addiction rate might be that while State and Federal government has provided an astounding 76% of the funds spent to treat addicts/ alcoholics only 1 in 5 were serviced at a specialty treatment center. Additionally Government funded treatment centers fall within a narrow band of the available treatment options that do not take into account the individual needs of those seeking rehabilitation.   It seems that the American taxpayer has been charged with funding vague, beurocratic solutions to problems that are unique to the individual addicts/alcoholics involved.  If a Governmental campaign of this magnitude has yielded no tangible results, clearly another angle of attack required.

The American Medical Association as well as the American Psychiatric Association has classified alcoholism and drug addiction as treatable diseases, so where do the insurance companies stand?  Apparently a comfortable distance from the people suffering as the overwhelming majority of those who failed to receive treatment did so due to either a lack of heath insurance coverage or due to a lack of insurance coverage that provided for treatment. In fact only 25% of addicts and 42% of alcoholics were aided by private insurance despite the well-established characterization of the condition.  With the costs associated with treatment being what they are it is necessary for these companies to provide coverage that gives access to treatment options that are tailored the needs of the individual.

As insurance companies are disinclined to provide the services required by those insured or enroll past substance abusers, the situation seems pretty bleak to the majority of those attempting to get help.  While there is no overnight solution, there are a few things that can be done to nudge the industry and society in general in a more rational direction.  The most pressing issue is the encouragement of congress to mandate that private insurers cover the detoxification and treatment of those with policies struggling with addiction.  This is being hotly debated in Congress as the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.  This bill seeks to ensure that the insurance companies behave responsibly in seeing that the insured are provided access to the treatment that they pay for and deserve.  You can obtain information about what you can do to help pass this legislation at   www.nmha.org or at  www.wellstone.org .  Congress is extremely close to passing the bill and it is vital that you act as soon as possible as their August recess is approaching and they will likely adjourn in September.

An optimistic outcome of the passing of this legislation is that it might prompt the insurance industry to launch long-term studies into treatment options alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous.  While for the past 73 years it has been the backbone of mainstream recovery there has not been a single study that has proven it more effective than no treatment at all. This is not to say that it doesn’t work for anyone, but there are a sizable percentage of patients who find its theory of powerlessness incompatible with their view of addiction. Most people are often unaware that other options exist.  There are a variety of centers that approach the problem of addiction with practical, down-to-earth solutions and it would be to the mutual benefit to the insurance companies and the substance abusers to investigate these alternative avenues.

For many coping with addiction the issue isn’t inadequate coverage, it’s a complete lack of it.  With the cost of substance abuse treatment rivaling that of treating cancer this is a seemingly impossible obstacle to overcome.  The solution to this seems to be the adoption by Congress of Universal Coverage.  In this system currently being debated in the presidential campaign every American would have access to affordable health insurance.  This would broaden the base of those paying into the insurance system drastically lowering the rates, which have risen close to 5 times the rate of wages over the last decade.  The result is that affordable insurance is no longer the privilege of those working for large corporations and the government.  The State of Massachusetts has already done exactly that.  Every citizen of that state is covered and pays on a sliding scale in accordance with their wages.  This shows that it can and does work.  Again, the only way to see programs such as this enacted nationally is to get involved.  The only thing standing between you and coverage for you and your family is apathy so call your congressmen, speak with your friends, and judge the candidates on their commitment to your future.

While few will be able to reasonably expect that a television show will swoop in and save the day, we can hope for a sort of intervention.  This will be the collective intervention of those who recognize and act on the deeply flawed nature of insurance payments for the treatment of addiction.  We ask the insurance companies to INSURE so that hopefully, soon, the choice to get treatment will be as simple as deciding to go.

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Addiction Treatment

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Over the years we have become known as the safe, reliable, and comfortable solution to drug rehab. When you choose a rehab program, keep in mind… Freedom Treatment Center is unsurpassed in overall treatment program satisfaction.

Drug Rehab Center Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction and alcoholism are believed to be a learned behavior that is masking a person’s emotional or physical pain, and is not recognized as a disease or mental illness. We use this attitude to provide the most effective drug rehab treatment program available. There simply is no more effective way to combat drug addiction.

Are You Losing A Loved One To Drug Addiction or Alcoholism?

Addiction carries with it much loss. Whether it be loss of relationships, money, or a close family member – Addiction causes loss. Your time is running out to be helped. Your time is running out to help them.

Drug Addiction Defined: http://www.freedomtreatmentcenter.com/drug-addiction-defined/

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Check back soon for great blogs about Drugs, Drug addiction, Treatment and other similar topics that we’ll inform you on and keep you updated. An addiction is no easy thing to deal with by yourself, that’s why we are here to help you out anyway we can. Please call us at 1-877-362-9682 (517-629-8821 Local / International) or visit our website www.freedomtreatmentcenter.com

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dp@freedomtreatmentcenter.com

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