Alcohol-use and depression among pregnant and postpartum women

at Buffalo - SUNY. "People generally think of these problems as being completely separate from each other. This is true for medical treatment of these problems as well; treatment of depression does not generally involve treatment for alcohol problems and vice versa."

"Not only does much of what we know about comorbidity come from studies of men involved in treatment," added Homish, "but individuals already involved in treatment are not likely to be the same as individuals not in treatment. Furthermore, there has been little research on comorbidity of alcohol use and depression in pregnant and postpartum women. This is unfortunate, as alcohol use and depression during pregnancy can be a marker for women at risk for later difficulties with alcohol and depression, which can adversely affect both women and the development of their children. Children whose mothers have alcohol use disorders and/or depression tend to have more physical and psychological development deficits and have fewer resources directed towards their care. Thus, identifying women at risk for these conditions can benefit both the mother and child."

Researchers examined data collected from an ongoing, longitudinal study of pregnancy outcomes, the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project (MHPCD). The MHPCD recruited women in their fourth prenatal month from a large, urban prenatal clinic in Pittsburgh, PA between 1983 and 1985, assessing them in their fourth and seventh prenatal month, at delivery, and then together with their children at eight and 18 months, then three, six, 10, 14, 16 and 21 years later. For this particular study, five groups of prenatal variables (psychological standing, substance use, social factors, obstetrical complications, and demographics) were collected at four points in time (the 4th and 7th month of pregnancy, delivery, and 8 months postpartum) for 595 women.

"We found that women who experience depressive symptoms, binge drink,


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