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Substance Abuse and Pregnancy

Scenario for Maria:

You are a psychologist working in a women's unit for a substance abuse agency as a member of the treatment team. Your specific job is to conduct individual sessions with clients who have problems that are un-treatable in group therapy. Typically, you provide mental health services for clients who do not have another psychologist and your clients are very needy. In fact, virtually all of your clients are unemployed and are quite poor.

During Maria's appointment, you learn that she has just discovered that she is six weeks pregnant, and despite her continued drinking and use of cigarettes, she thinks that her baby will be healthy. The agency nurse asked you to talk to her about how her behaviors are likely endangering the baby. She has explained the physical problems, but Maria responds better to you. Maria does not understand how her tobacco and alcohol use, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, unprotected sex, and other risky behaviors might be dangerous to the embryo. Maria dropped out of high school as a sophomore and has a sixth grade reading level.

What specific information is most important to introduce to Maria to help convince her to make some changes? Remember that you do not want to overwhelm her with complicated information and explanations. How would you approach Maria to help to educate her about pregnancy risks? What specific behavior changes does Maria have to make to help her baby to be healthy? What interventions would you suggest to Maria and the rest of the treatment team that will help to support the changes that she needs to make?

Solution Preview

Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below should get you started to look at Maria's issues and make an assessment to educate her about the issues as related in the case. The analysis of the case should be simple but to the point as follows:

1. Specific information - what to tell Maria to not make her listen and abide - 100 words.
2. Approaches for Maria - 75 words
3. Suggested behavior changes - 75 words
4. Interventions - 75 words

On Maria's Case

Maria is an addict - that is the plain truth presented here. Additionally, as a high school drop-out with a 6th-grade reading-level, Maria's comprehension about the realities of substance abuse, unprotected sex, smoking, insomnia, poor nutrition and a host of other risky behaviors are putting herself and her baby at risk due to the detrimental effects of that behavior upon her condition. While this might be plain information even to the most common individual who understands the delicate needs of pregnancy, to explain the risks to Maria whose comprehension is low and who has always been living in such a risky position is something that is alien. The fact that her addiction and drug abuse are impairing her own bodily functions and her health is dangerous enough, but as a pregnant woman she is eating, drinking and living for 2 until she gives birth. The chances of her baby being born with problematic birth defects are high due to difficult prenatal development. If I were to ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the analysis of the case of Maria, a pregnant expectant-mom who continuous to abuse cigarettes, alcohol and other substances without regard to their effect on the health and survivability of her infant. The solution provides perspectives that answer the questions in the given case in terms of providing Maria with advise and support but in a way that takes note of her complications and personal context. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.