In light of the opioid epidemic spreading worldwide, much attention is given to the growing numbers of babies being born addicted to opiates. There is another large population of babies being born addicted. Around the world, babies are suffering methamphetamine use by their mothers. 6.7 percent of people seeking treatment for addiction to methamphetamines in 2009 were pregnant women.
Can Babies get Addicted to Crystal Meth?
Babies can be born addicted to and/or affected by heroin, stimulants, methamphetamines and alcohol. Neonatal abstinence syndrome is the term used to describe the symptoms of withdrawal faced by babies who are born addicted to drugs. Newborns are like blank canvasses. Their development has yet to begin. Sadly, when a baby is born addicted to drugs like crystal meth, they have addiction immediately painted upon them. What babies experience in addiction and withdrawal is no different from what adults experience. Except, they are infantile.
Aside from crying, they have no means for expressing their experiences. For babies born addicted to drugs like crystal meth, they are trapped within a very adult series of physical symptoms. Unable to express what they are going through, babies demonstrate their discomfort in the only ways they can.
- Unusual cry; very high-pitched and distressed
- Scratching own self
- Difficulties sleeping
- Need for round the clock holding or close physical sensations
Effects of Meth Addiction on Babies
- Stunted Growth
- Developmental Problems
- Behavioral Problems
- Dulled Stress Responses
Ongoing addiction after childbirth plays a significant role in how meth can influence a baby born addicted. In homes where the addicted mother and/or other family members have gotten sober and stabilized, a child responds to stressful factors and environment normally. For children enduring cyclical addiction and abusive environments, their coping mechanisms suffer.
Children whose mothers used methamphetamines like crystal meth when the baby was in utero are more likely to develop mood disorders. By age three, meth babies will demonstrate depression and anxiety. ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can develop by age 5. Problematically, these behaviors become more about “acting out”, showing that the children have adopted the character of addiction which is compulsivity and impulsivity. Long term studies are being conducted to determine how babies born addicted to meth change through their adolescent years.