Can Postpartum Trigger a Substance Use Disorder Relapse?

Can Postpartum Trigger a Substance Use Disorder Relapse?

For new mothers, the postpartum period can be a difficult time. Dealing with physical and emotional changes can be challenging, along with deciding which maternity bras are most comfortable, what formula will keep your baby healthy, and how to maintain a social life. Many women turn to substances to cope. However, this can lead to a relapse of a substance use disorder. In this article, we will discuss the factors that contribute to postpartum relapse and how to prevent it. Keep reading to learn more.

Social Isolation


It’s been well documented that postpartum social isolation can trigger a substance use disorder relapse. In fact, a recent study published found that new mothers who were socially isolated were more likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse. The study looked at 180 women who had recently given birth and were enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program. The researchers found that women who reported feeling socially isolated were more than twice as likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse than women who did not feel isolated. What’s more, the study found that social isolation was a stronger predictor of relapse than other factors, such as depression and stress. This suggests that social isolation is a key risk factor for substance abuse.

Why is social isolation such a risk factor? One possible explanation is that social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. These feelings can in turn lead to a craving for drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Another possible explanation is that social isolation can lead to a lack of support. New mothers can often feel overwhelmed and alone, and having a supportive network can be critical for preventing substance abuse. Regardless, if you find yourself slipping, searching for the best rehab centers in Arizona or your state should be the next step.

Colic in Infants

Colic is a condition that is typically seen in infants and is marked by episodes of intense and persistent crying. For some parents, dealing with colic can be incredibly challenging and can even trigger substance abuse. There is no definitive cause of colic, but it is believed that the pain and discomfort that it causes can lead to emotional stress in both parents and infants. This stress can then lead to the development of substance abuse in parents who have previously battled an addiction. There are a number of ways that parents can deal with colic and help to prevent substance abuse. First and foremost, it is important to seek support from friends, family, and professionals. Parents should also take care of themselves both physically and emotionally, and make sure to get plenty of rest. Finally, parents should create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, which can help to reduce stress.

Postpartum Depression


Nearly one in five women experience postpartum depression (PPD), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Left untreated, PPD can trigger substance abuse and addiction. Women with PPD are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, including tobacco and illegal substances. Additionally, they are at an increased risk of developing an addiction. Symptoms of PPD include the following:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or inadequate
  • Crying frequently
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Not feeling bonded with your baby
  • Feeling like a bad mother
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

PPD is treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. Overall, postpartum can trigger a substance use disorder relapse. This means that it is important for those with a history of addiction to be especially vigilant during and after pregnancy. Substance use disorder relapses can have serious consequences for both the mother and child.