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The Lasting Impact of Newborn Drug Dependency

The immediate effects of substance use during pregnancy are evident, but what do drug-exposed children experience long-term? A child’s cognition and behavior can both suffer from drug exposure in their mother’s womb, and they may experience a higher likelihood for addictive behaviors later in life.

Cognitive impairments

Between 30 and 40 percent of drug-exposed toddlers demonstrated difficulties focusing, articulating their needs, and meeting other fine motor control and developmental milestones typical among their peers.

Other cognitive impairments typical among children exposed to drugs in utero include:

  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Delays in speech and language development
  • Learning disabilities and difficulty in school

Behavioral issues

Beyond academic performance, drug-exposed children also display difficulty in controlling their emotions and displaying normal behavior for their age group.

Behavioral struggles can include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Poor judgment and reasoning skills

Finding help

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder during pregnancy, help is available. The team at Valley Oaks Health will be with you on the journey toward recovery.

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