September is National Recovery Month

Addictive personality and pregnancy

An addictive personality can generally be defined by characteristics of overindulgence. They are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, the computer,  cigarettes, gambling, shopping, sex/love, and even new drugs such as bath salts.  For example, if they start to smoke cigarettes then they end up smoking a pack a day before too long. Addictive personalities can not do anything in moderation. Women who are pregnant with an addiction have a hard time because they may just replace one addiction for another.

Pregnant women are told by their doctors not to smoke, drink or use drugs. Some women just stop these things because they are concerned about their unborn child.  If they have an addictive personality, they may replace these things with excessive shopping, extreme overeating or some other behavior that gives them a false chemical happiness. Their brain releases a dopamine surge that gives them a feeling of reward. That reward may come in a package of well-being or a so called “good high”.

You can generally tell when a woman has an addictive personality.  They will engage in the particular activity for an excessive amount of time or in the case of alcohol and drugs it would be excessive consumption. Drug and alcohol abuse while pregnant is not only detrimental to the woman but also the unborn baby. You should know that drug use of any amount is not good for a woman, pregnant or not. Any woman who abuses drugs our alcohol is a prime candidate for rehabilitation. Pregnancy makes the necessity more urgent.

Drug and alcohol abuse is the first thing people think about when discussing addictions. There are many other addictions such as nicotine, caffeine, sex, gambling, computer gaming, etc. Some things are harmless. But, when it starts to have a negative effect on their life then it is an addiction, not just a hobby. Obviously, if the addiction requires breaking the law in any way then that is a huge warning sign! Other negative effects would be spending time alone just to engage in the activity or spend money that they just don’t have. If relationships that the addict once valued no longer seems important and they withdraw from social events; alarm bells should sound.  Your loved one needs help!

Pregnant women exhibiting these signs, along with children, are the most important. Not only is a young life affected but a pregnant woman’s hormones can push her to even more extremes. The addictive personality that she is predisposed to is heightened and the addiction can become all consuming. She needs help. Luckily, help is available for all women, pregnant women included. NDFW is one of only a small few alcohol and drug rehab centers for women who are pregnant in any trimester. We work with special OB/GYN’s in the area who are adept in detoxing pregnant women from opiates or alcohol.

She may need a close friend or family member to approach the subject. She could willingly get help of her own accord. But, that is not always the case. In many cases, it may take other family members, her doctor, or an interventionist to convince her she needs treatment. Worse case scenario, social services gets involved and treatment is court ordered. Obviously that is not an optimal circumstance but when it comes to the pregnant woman that may be the only choice.

If you are a pregnant woman with an addictive personality or have a serious addiction and you see this pattern forming in you, the ball is in your court. You can take action yourself. Admitting you have a problem is the first step on your way to recovery. You and your child are the most important people in this process.

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