Supporting Moms in Recovery
Author: Atlanta Addiction Recovery Center Editor
Children are one of God’s greatest gifts. They bring so much joy and love to our lives. Yet, being a mother can also be a uniquely stressful and exhausting experience.
First-time mothers can feel particularly overwhelmed. Just taking a shower, eating a meal and sleeping more than a few uninterrupted hours can be a challenge. Caring for an infant can also be very isolating. In addition to having little time to devote to self-care, new mothers also have trouble making time to spend with friends who could otherwise provide much-needed support.
In addition, new mothers with a history of depression or bipolar disorder are at a greater risk for developing postpartum depression, which can affect women between two months and one year after giving birth. According to the CDC, 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression after having a baby. These symptoms can include feelings of guilt about not being a good mom and doubt about caring for a newborn. Women suffering from postpartum depression may feel numb or disconnected from their infant. They may also feel anger and resentment toward their child.
Under these circumstances, many new mothers who have been sober for years may feel tempted to start self-medicating to manage feelings of anxiety or depression related to parenthood. According to national survey data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), mothers suffering from postpartum depression are at a higher risk for substance abuse. Approximately 15 percent of mothers struggling with depression and children less than a year old reported engaging in binge drinking and 8.5 percent reported using other drugs.
Why Moms Fear Addiction Treatment
Mothers struggling with depression and addiction may be hesitant to seek help because they are ashamed of their addiction and fear being judged. Perhaps they have made reckless decisions due to their substance use disorder, such as using while pregnant or breastfeeding, or have driven under the influence with their children in the car. Many mothers report feeling guilty about the consequences of addiction on their children and blame themselves for relapsing. There may also be guilt associated with stepping away from their families in order to seek the treatment they need.
All of these challenges are barriers to seeking treatment. But it is critical that mothers struggling with substance abuse get help. Children need nurturing from their mothers to grow and thrive. It is imperative that mothers receive treatment before the impact of their addiction causes irreversible damage to themselves and their families. According to one study based on data from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, children of mothers who struggle with substance abuse tend to have increased rates of cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioral problems. These children are also at increased risk for neglect and abuse, and have a greater chance of developing a substance abuse disorder later in life.
How Atlanta Addiction Recovery Center Help Can Help Mothers Struggling With Depression and Addiction
Mothers have many unique challenges that need to be addressed when seeking sobriety. Here at Atlanta Addiction Recovery Center, we work closely with mothers and their families on individualized recovery programs that meet their needs and unique situations. Our Family Program offers mothers and their families all of the support, resources and tools necessary to heal the wounds caused by addiction. When a loved one enters treatment, families participate in family education, group therapy and support groups. Programs for families help restore hope and a happy, healthy family life.
If you are a mother, or know of a mom who needs help with a substance abuse disorder, you no longer have to suffer in silence. Let our compassionate addiction specialists at AARC help you take that first step toward recovery. Call 770-232-6104 to learn more about our recovery programs today.