Drugs affect people from all walks of life. Mothers are not exempt from having a substance abuse disorder. A mother already has a lot on her plate to deal with a child and ensure that they get all the care and nurturing they need to grow up properly. But mothers are still human beings and are subject to the same desires as other people. In many cases, all it takes is one poor choice to lead down the road of addiction. It doesn’t even matter how old their children are. Some women who engage in substance abuse have kids already in high school, while others are dealing with newborns.
The fallout of drug addiction is never limited to just one person. A mother who’s addicted to a drug risks losing access to their children. Even a mom who decides that she should go to rehab may have to separate from their child for an extended amount of time. Some pregnant women who suffer from substance use disorder give birth to kids already addicted to the substance. The result is a child that suffers from withdrawal from the moment it leaves the womb. Medical professionals term this condition neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Many women who turn to drugs as an escape have to deal with their own mental and physical abuse problems. Judging them as ‘bad parents” doesn’t help them become better people or guide them towards overcoming their addiction. Recovery starts with understanding why moms who are addicted make the decisions they make.
Getting Clean and Sober As A Mom
As a mom, a person has several options for getting clean and sober. Several facilities deal with treatment specifically for women. Discussing the reasons why someone becomes hooked on a substance is usually a very personal experience. There are feelings of shame and guilt associated with a mother’s decision to use a substance in many cases. In other situations, physical and mental abuse may play a significant role in their choices. Whatever it may be, women-only treatment centers can offer a more understanding audience of professionals and peers that deal with similar situations. In these women-only care facilities, a mom can find someone to listen to them but not judge them for their decisions.
When someone is addicted to a substance, their brain changes its configuration to deal with the drug. This condition is known as dependence. Dependence on a drug means that the person needs it to operate normally. Without it, their actions and thinking are slower and less efficient. If a person stops taking the substance, the brain and the body start to create symptoms that can be scary at best and deadly at worst. Treatment facilities usually begin with drug detox, which may take as long as a week. Rehab facilities help moms go through detox under the supervision of medical staff. After detox, a mom might need to attend therapy to help them deal with the mental urges of her addiction.
One of the worst things that can happen to a mother is losing her child because of her addiction. However, a person who suffers from a substance use disorder will create an unstable environment for the child. Many of these moms are single parents, and they risk losing their children because they can’t deal with their addiction. Most moms will agree that the child’s welfare should be at the forefront of the discussion.
Custody Concerns And Your Addiction
In most cases involving kids, social services prefer to remove them from the environment of a mother who is going through substance use disorder. This separation is for their own good, but also because of how addiction affects the mom. A child needs their parent to be in complete control of their senses and faculties at all times. Kids need to be supervised and taught, or else they might end up hurting themselves or others. A parent who has a substance use disorder may find themselves unable to care for their child. Because addiction affects whether a person can be employed and the quality of their work, it might also raise concerns about whether the mother can provide for their child.
The bond between a mother and her child is among the strongest that anyone can encounter. Forcing them to split up is an emotionally harrowing experience, but many states do this only when they think there is no choice for the child to have a safe and healthy family environment. If parents are divorced, and the father isn’t suffering from a substance use disorder, the courts may see it fit to place the child there. The mother may lose custody and even visitation rights in such a case since the court cannot assure the child’s safety. In other cases, the courts may place the child with a relative. When a mother loses custody of her child, she needs to prove that she can overcome her addiction to have a chance at recovering her baby. Rehab is the best option for this outcome, and many courts include rehab as part of a person’s sentence for a drug arrest.
Addiction And Your Child
Children are easily influenced, even by things adults don’t realize they’re doing. When a woman starts doing drugs, she might hide their presence and the things she does from her kids. However, as a person becomes more dependent on the substance, this becomes challenging to do. Eventually, they just start doing drugs in the presence of their kids. A kid will naturally pattern themselves after what their parent is doing. It creates a situation where kids might pick up their parents’ drug habit and innocently follow it. There are also concerns about parental behavior. An adult needs to be fully lucid and aware to manage a child. When someone takes a drug, they will become euphoric and possibly lose touch with the world around them. If this happens, it’s as good as leaving the child completely unsupervised.
Substance use disorder, as mentioned before, has the potential to create a dangerous situation for kids. Parents not being alert enough to manage their kids is one thing, but drugs also attract a criminal element. A working mom with a drug habit might not make enough on her salary to manage the bills and her addiction. Invariably, criminal elements prey on her desperation, and she may find herself in dangerous situations. Putting a child through those events can scar them for life. Aside from emotional damage, kids can become bargaining chips to ensure compliance. A mother needs to understand the reality of the situation and how it can affect the child. Seeking out rehab is a better option for a mother who wants to remain close to her child and not lose them because of their addiction.
Creating A Stable Home Environment
What counts as a stable home environment? For a mom, a stable and healthy home environment is one where she can recover from her substance use disorder. However, it’s different for a child. If a person loses custody of their child because of their substance use disorder, they have some avenues that they can explore. The court that removed the child from the harmful environment would want to ensure that they aren’t sending the child back to the same situation they found them in. A stable home environment would be one where the mom has a job and can control her use disorder. Typically, stable home environments result from a mom going to rehab and finishing her time in inpatient or outpatient treatment. This stable home environment is conducive to a child’s growth and development.
To create a stable home environment, detox and therapy are the essential starting points. Most rehabilitation facilities offer detox in contained rooms with monitoring by medical staff. In case withdrawal symptoms are life-threatening, personnel is on hand to deal with the complication. Detox is the first step in recovery because it helps a mom deal with her physical dependency. A detox may last between one and two weeks but can be as long as a month in some cases. After detox is complete, a woman may spend time in an inpatient or outpatient facility. These stays typically don’t go beyond ninety days and help a mom deal with the psychological urges she may have for the substance. After inpatient or outpatient treatment, a mom who wants to recover custody of their child should seek out ongoing sobriety maintenance through support groups or twelve-step plans.
Conversations With Your Child
How does a mother approach telling her child about the situation? Losing child custody has a toll on the parent and the child, but in the short term, it might be best for them to be looked after while their mother goes through rehab. How should a mom approach the discussion surrounding this event? One of the most vital things that a mom should do is reassure her child that they will see each other again. Kids may be emotionally scarred if they believe they’ll never see their mom again. It’s also crucial to underline that none of this is their fault. In too many cases, children grow up with emotional attachment problems and other complexes because they felt responsible for their mom’s addiction issue. It usually takes years of therapy to overcome this belief.
Discussing a period of separation with a child will be emotional for the mom, but she needs to control her emotions in her child’s presence. Kids are exceptionally emotionally sensitive and seeing their mother cry might drive them to despair quickly. Some moms confide in their kids, but this burdens the child with the parent’s concerns. A child should not have to bear the burden of a mother suffering from substance abuse disorder. Instead, they should be free to be a child and play and grow up in their own time. A mother who puts this burden on her child can cause emotional developmental problems that might persist into adulthood.
Trauma And Dual Diagnosis Therapies
When preparing for inpatient treatment, two key points that facilities note are trauma and dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis happens when a person has a co-occurring mental illness that may affect their rehabilitation. With new knowledge in the field, it’s becoming more apparent that many individuals who suffer from substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental disorder. As a mother, a dual-diagnosis-focused recovery center is the best way for them to deal with the stress of their mental illness alongside their recovery.
Mental trauma may come from abuse and tends to be passed on from person to person. In drug use circles, women often tend to be abused and might pass on this abuse to their children. The abuse usually triggers deep psychological scarring that needs a professional to deal with. Abuse and trauma aren’t things that any regular rehab center can deal with. Treating these problems requires specialized staff that is aware of the severity of the problem and a way to fix it.
Leaving Superwoman Behind
A common psychological complex that therapists encounter for moms going through rehab is the “Superwoman” complex. Mothers already have a lot of things to juggle without substance abuse. Their maternal instinct is natural to feel like taking care of their child is the most crucial thing in the world. Unfortunately, this mental picture of “keeping it all together” and taking care of those around them can quickly be undermined when they cannot take care of themselves. Accepting that a mom needs to take care of herself first to be able to take care of others requires her to give up that Superwoman persona. Without the proper support, a mom will never be able to give up this idea of being a Superwoman. The inevitable fallout of this situation is that she relapses because of all the stress she puts on herself.
Joining Other Parents in Recovery
Family recovery is not a new concept. Other parents can provide support and encouragement to help a recovering mom overcome her addiction. With this peer support and trained professionals, overcoming this hurdle becomes much more accessible. At Circle of Hope, we pride ourselves on our approach to helping parents overcome addiction. Our dedicated staff has learned the best way to deal with parents, especially moms. Why don’t you give us a call today and find out how we do family rehab? We’d be glad to get you started on it and guide you every step of the way.