Drug risk after pregnancy loss – abortion or miscarriage

Herald Sun (Aust) December 22, 2008
YOUNG women who have had an abortion or miscarriage are significantly more likely to use illegal drugs and have a history of alcohol dependence, a study has found. University of Queensland researchers surveyed more than 1200 women born between 1981 and 1984 about their pregnancies and substance abuse histories at age 21. They found 280 had been pregnant at least once. Of those, 82 reported having a miscarriage and 101 said they had undergone an abortion. Seventeen women had experienced both.

Public health researcher Kaeleen Dingle said the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, was one of the first to have directly compared the psychiatric outcomes, including substance abuse histories, of women who had undergone an abortion with those who had experienced a miscarriage. She said both groups had similar risks for lifetime alcohol use disorders and illegal drug use, excluding cannabis. Ms Dingle said the findings suggested pregnancy loss, by whatever means, may be associated with an increased risk of later substance misuse to dampen emotions.

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