Until now, the research on babies inside the womb with mothers who are either alcohol dependent or drug-addicted is ongoing and has some grave news. In the UK, four babies are born each day with addiction, either alcohol or drugs. As for news in the United States, four babies are born each HOUR on the hour with opioid dependence.
Alarming, huh? Even babies who don’t know how to feed themselves can now be drug-addicted. It is truly insane.
What Is Opioid Addiction?
It is a type of addiction to pain relievers – be it legal or illegal substances or drugs. Opioid Addiction is a huge problem in the United States since it affects not only mothers but also their newborn babies.
Studies On Side Effects Of Alcohol Or Drug Addiction In Babies
The headline is genuinely eyebrow-raising. How can babies become addicts? If it were done traditionally, you’d imagine that “babies” would inject the cocaine or snort the heroin. It’s crazy! But yes, babies can become addicts, and that’s the fault of their drug-addicted or alcohol-addicted mother.
One study showed that babies who were born from drug addict mothers are more likely to suffer from behavioral issues when they become toddlers. Symptoms like inattentiveness, focus issues, not able to speak openly or convey his thoughts verbally (not deaf or mute), and lacking behavioral control are just some of the problems observed when the babies get older. At least thirty to forty percent of the babies grow up that way. They have fine motor skills and developmental delays.
The pressing concern here is the long-term health effects on the babies born by drug-addicted mothers. Even if the children “recover” from Opioid Addiction, they are not really “cured” since there is no antidote for addiction. There are treatment and management programs for that, though. The sad part here is for the babies. They didn’t choose this, and they didn’t like this kind of health impediment. They are the ones suffering.
Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol Addiction On Babies
Here is another study. The observation was that as high as 30% of pregnant mothers engage in alcohol drinking, but there are some who resort to severe consumption. With this, the babies are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The disorder has three classifications: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), and Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND).
Babies born with this disorder are physically deformed which may include facial disfigurements, small head measurement, delayed cognitive function, and more. When they become adults, they will have problems with learning and their memory. They will also exhibit a lack of absorption. And that’s just alcohol. The effects on babies by drugs are more disturbing than alcohol.
Long-Term Effects Of Drug Addiction On Babies
Cocaine can cause mental health disorders to develop in babies within the wombs of their addicted mothers. The drug has an impact on the dopamine and serotonin pathways of the mother which will then mess up the neurological development of babies. So, the least mental health disorder that a baby can acquire from this is seizures and depression. The worst that they can develop from this are schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and the likes. Who would want their child to manifest schizophrenia?
The list doesn’t stop there. Of course, behavioral issues are a given. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder are just some of the minor behavioral problems of a baby born with cocaine addiction.
As for heroin, the children are often enrolled in special education because they are “slow.” Studies showed that 65% of kids with heroin-addicted mothers repeat a grade level. Their IQ’s are impaired.
Addiction to legal substances like pain meds can also deliver the same long-term effects.
Are The Children Doomed?
Early intervention can help children who were born with alcohol or drug addiction. If their disorders are spotted early on, appropriate treatment is readily available. They can still have a life. For those who have a permanent disability because of the addiction, it’s just so sad. It would be better for everyone just to stay away from alcohol or drugs, pregnant or not.
If you or a loved one is pregnant and has problems with alcohol or drugs, it would be best to consult with a chemical dependency counselor.