Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked as a child therapist. For me, working with kids whose parents were addicted to drugs was hard. Many kids were separated from their parents while they went to jail or rehab due to drug addiction. And although those kids were hopeful that they’d be reunited with their parents soon, they were often let down. This caused a lot of trauma and grief for them.
That’s one reason why overcoming prescription drug addiction can be so beneficial for mothers. So I’m glad to feature this guest post by Daniel Factor of The Recovery Village. If you’re a mother who’s experiencing drug addiction or who’s working on overcoming drug addiction, I hope you find this post to be helpful and inspiring.
How Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction Makes You A More Present Mother
For many women, motherhood is one of life’s biggest responsibilities. While caring for a life other than your own requires providing all the necessities of survival, nurturing a loving relationship requires being physically and emotionally present. Addiction to prescription drugs presents many challenges, most of which also prevent women from experiencing the highlights of motherhood.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), over 90% of female substance abusers are addicted to prescription drugs. Often, many are in denial about their addiction due to the stigma of the term “drug addict.” When most people think of an addict, their mind conjures up an image of a disheveled person hooked on hard drugs, like crack or heroin. But they would be surprised to find that a significant number of women, many of whom are mothers, are functioning drug addicts.
The repercussions of prescription drug addiction are far-reaching. If you’re struggling with this disease, overcoming it can provide valuable benefits, many of which will make you a more present mother.
The Benefits of Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction for Moms
Healthier Sleep Hygiene
One sign of prescription drug addiction is experiencing a drastic change in your sleep patterns. Motherhood can sometimes be full of unrelenting responsibilities, and this becomes more difficult when you’re unable to keep up due to exhaustion. Typically, for instances where a cup of coffee or a good night of rest can help, opioid-induced drowsiness prevents relief. Those addicted to drugs like Codeine or Morphine are known to sleep their days away, often isolated in a dark, locked room. By sleeping around the clock or at odd hours, household chores become neglected and children are often ignored.
For others, substance abuse can cause sleep deprivation. This can lead to extreme exhaustion, hallucinations, and/or confused erratic behavior. Lack of sleep can also cause neglect, as well as putting your children at increased risk of injury. Long-term elimination of prescription drug abuse can help to regulate your sleep patterns, essentially getting rid the negative side effects of poor sleep hygiene. When you’re well rested and alert, you can properly provide the care and attention your children need.
Whether it’s because of poor sleep hygiene or directly caused by the substance itself, abusing prescription drugs alters the brain chemistry and impairs cognitive function. Mood swings and hostility are common symptoms. For children, this can be a harsh reality. When you’re in the throes of irritability, it can be hard to recognize the effect it has on children. Kids who are exposed to addictive behavior often experience low self-esteem, exhibit poor performance in school, and have a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. Eliminating substance abuse can often decrease these effects in children and help to establish a closer bond.
Ability to Lead by Example
Over time, addiction progresses towards extreme behavioral changes. In order to satisfy intense drug cravings, abusers often resort to drastic measures. This can include actions like stealing or committing fraud. Quite often, addictive practices multiply and lead to abuse of other substances, such as heroin and alcohol. It’s almost impossible to teach children healthy behavioral habits when they witness extreme actions on a regular basis. Statistically, 50% of children raised by substance abusers grow up to abuse drugs personally (as per the NCBI). The best way to lessen this risk and be aware of the example you’re setting for your own kids is to ensure that you’re clean. Attending counseling regularly can also help to reform negative behavior.
The best way to be present for your children is to actually be there. Substance abuse causes parental neglect, which often leads to severe mental trauma for children. Various reports have linked an increase in teen suicides with the national opioid crisis.
Additionally, substance abuse can put you at risk of facing jail time and possibly losing custody of your children. It also increases the likelihood of complications, with brain, liver and kidney disease being a common diagnosis among addicts. In addition to poor health, accidental death is also a huge risk factor. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 Americans die of an opioid overdose every day.
Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction
Ensure you’re physically present for your children by seeking qualified medical assistance. By taking the steps to becoming a more present mother, you’re ensuring a healthier and happier future for your children.
Daniel Factor is a freelance writer from Birmingham, Alabama. He is passionate about helping those who struggle from addiction, and he occasionally writes for The Recovery Village.