Co-morbidity of substance use disorder and psychopathology in women who use methamphetamine during pregnancy in the US and New Zealand

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Drug and alcohol dependence (Impact Factor: 3.42). 07/2012; 127(1-3). DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.06.016
Source: PubMed


Methamphetamine (MA) abuse is a worldwide problem. Little is known about the co-morbidity of substance use disorders (SUD) and other psychiatric disorders of mothers who use MA prenatally. The Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) Study is a prospective, investigation of prenatal MA use and child outcome in the United States (US) and New Zealand (NZ). This study examined prenatal MA use and the co-morbidity of SUD and psychiatric disorders at 1-month postpartum.

Mothers who used MA (US=127, NZ=97) were compared to a matched comparison group (US=193, NZ=110). The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-3 was used to measure the probability of a SUD. The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) was used to measure the likelihood of a positive diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder.

In the US and NZ, MA groups had lower SES, increased single parenting, delayed prenatal care, and increased polydrug use. In the US only, MA mothers had lower income than the comparison group. MA users were 10 times more likely to have a SUD and twice as likely to meet BSI criteria for a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. In NZ, but not the US, MA users were five times more likely to have co-morbidity of both. This disparity may be due to higher quantities of prenatal alcohol use associated with increased psychiatric symptoms.

These findings suggest that addressing both substance abuse and psychiatric disorders in mothers who use MA may be required to effectively treat maternal MA use.

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Available from: Marilyn A Huestis, Oct 20, 2014
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    • "Despite the number of studies that have identified delayed motor development in children exposed prenatally to a range of recreational drugs, few intervention studies specifically targeting motor development exist. Rather the focus of intervention research has been to reduce the environmental risks associated with maternal substance abuse (Derauf et al., 2007; Wouldes et al., 2013) thereby improving parenting and in turn fostering more optimal child development. However the effectiveness of these programs has been variable and few have reported positive effects for motor development. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Despite the evidence that women world-wide are using methamphetamine (MA) during pregnancy little is known about the neurodevelopment of their children. Design The controlled, prospective longitudinal New Zealand (NZ) Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study was carried out in Auckland, NZ. Participants were 103 children exposed to MA prenatally and 107 not exposed. The Mental Developmental Index (MDI) and the Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (BSID-II) measured cognitive and motor performance at ages 1, 2 and 3, and the Peabody Developmental Motor Scale, Second Edition (PDMS-II) measured gross and fine motor performance at 1 and 3. Measures of the child’s environment included the Home Observation of Measurement of the Environment and the Maternal Lifestyle Interview. The Substance Use Inventory measured maternal drug use. Results After controlling for other drug use and contextual factors, prenatal MA exposure was associated with poorer motor performance at 1 and 2 years on the BSID-II. No differences were observed for cognitive development (MDI). Relative to non-MA exposed children, longitudinal scores on the PDI and the gross motor scale of the PDMS-2 were 4.3 and 3.2 points lower, respectively. Being male and of Maori descent predicted lower cognitive scores (MDI) and being male predicted lower fine motor scores (PDMS-2) Conclusions Prenatal exposure to MA was associated with delayed gross motor development over the first 3 years, but not cognitive development. However, being male and of Maori descent were both associated with poorer cognitive outcomes. Males in general did more poorly on tasks related to fine motor development.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Neurotoxicology and Teratology
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    • "The findings discussed have growing implications for preventative interventions aimed at women of childbearing age who abuse MA, as well as for secondary interventions aimed at improving the condition of children with PME. Office on Drugs, and Crime 2013; Wouldes et al. 2013). Levels of MA use seem to be increasing in high-and middle-income countries, and in countries near major drug production areas (Degenhardt and Hall 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal methamphetamine exposure (PME) is a significant problem in several parts of the world and poses important health risks for the developing fetus. Research on the short- and long-term outcomes of PME is scarce, however. Here, we summarize present knowledge on the cognitive and behavioral outcomes of PME, based on a review of the neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and neuroscience literature published in the past 15 years. Several studies have reported that the behavioral and cognitive sequelae of PME include broad deficits in the domains of attention, memory, and visual-motor integration. Knowledge regarding brain-behavior relationships is poor, however, in large part because imaging studies are rare. Hence, the effects of PME on developing neurocircuitry and brain architecture remain speculative, and are largely deductive. Some studies have implicated the dopamine-rich fronto-striatal pathways; however, cognitive deficits (e.g., impaired visual-motor integration) that should be associated with damage to those pathways are not manifested consistently across studies. We conclude by discussing challenges endemic to research on prenatal drug exposure, and argue that they may account for some of the inconsistencies in the extant research on PME. Studies confirming predicted brain-behavior relationships in PME, and exploring possible mechanisms underlying those relationships, are needed if neuroscience is to address the urgency of this growing public health problem.
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    ABSTRACT: Pregnant women with substance dependency are a high-risk psychiatric and obstetric population, with their infants also at elevated neonatal risk. This paper draws on prospective, longitudinal data from a regional cohort of 81 methadone-maintained (MM) and 107 comparison women and their infants to describe the obstetric, socio-familial and mental health needs of women in methadone maintenance treatment during pregnancy. Of particular interest was the extent and pattern of maternal licit and illicit drug use over the course of pregnancy. Results showed that MM women had complex reproductive histories, chronic health problems, and were subject to high rates of socioeconomic adversity and comorbid mental health problems. During pregnancy, more than half continued to use licit and illicit drugs, although there was a general trend for drug use to reduce over time. No differences were observed between women maintained on low (12.5–61.0 mg/day) and high (61.1–195.0 mg/day) doses of methadone, with the exception of opiate abuse which was higher in the low dose group (p = .07). Findings highlight that pregnant women enrolled in MMT and their infants represent a vulnerable group with complex, social, obstetric and psychiatric needs. They also reinforce the need for services that can provide on-going wrap-around, multidisciplinary and multiagency care for these high risk dyads, both during pregnancy and in the transition to parenthood.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Neurotoxicology and Teratology
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