Being a parent can be very rewarding, but also comes with its share of challenges. Making sure that the children have what they need, everyone gets where they need to be, the house is cleaned, meals are prepared, bills are paid, and many other responsibilities can build. While they may have support from a spouse, mothers can feel increasingly pressured to run an efficient household. For some, this can lead to higher risk of addiction. There are several factors that may contribute to this risk:
Postpartum depression: Having a new baby means many changes and adjustments. Some women are unable to shake the depression and anxiety that they feel. They may be sleep-deprived and stressed over making sure they are caring for their baby properly. In addition, their body is going through chemical and hormonal changes as well. This may lead to taking prescription medications, drinking, or abusing other substances as a way of coping.
New mothers should talk to their spouse and family about receiving support. It is okay to admit that they need others and to be able to take a break to focus on their own continued wellbeing. Recognizing the signs of postpartum depression can help mothers and their loved ones to identify potential issues before they become more serious.
Boredom: While mothers can almost always find something to do around the house, it can become mundane day after day. When the children are in school or napping, they follow the same basic routine. This can lead to boredom and loss of interest in activities. In order to stay energized and motivated, they may turn to substance abuse or recreational drinking to change things up and feel a high. However, this can quickly spiral into an addiction.
It is important to stay active and engaged. Perhaps this means joining a community group, making weekly plans with friends, or engaging in other activities to simply get out of the house and get some stimulation.
Stress: Balancing work, life, raising a family, and maintaining a home is a full-time job. Trying to fit everything into a busy schedule can be stressful. Moms may feel pressured to try to be perfect and get everything done when in reality it is wearing them down. They may not ask for help because they want to appear strong, independent, or in control. As a means of coping with this stress, they may turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. The doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills to help mothers deal with symptoms of maintaining such a fast-paced life. If not used properly, this can turn into substance abuse or addiction.
Drinking or drugs may turn into their way of handling stressful situations and escaping from the challenges they face. Developing healthier outlets for these feelings, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, sports, or volunteering can help to alleviate stress in a more beneficial way.
Having a strong support system and sharing responsibilities can help mothers to better cope with the tasks and challenges of parenthood. Recognizing the signs of substance abuse and addiction can help loved ones to identify issues before they escalate. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Chapters Capistrano can help. Through customized treatment approaches, you can learn to deal with challenges and stress in a healthier manner and overcome addiction. It is never too early to seek help and take back control of your life and your future.