How Alcoholism Can Keep You From Starting a Family
Alcoholism is responsible for a number of physical, emotional, psychological and financial problems. For those who want to start a family, alcoholism can also make it difficult to achieve pregnancy. An addiction to alcohol can impact fertility in a significant way, and it can also cause problems that may prevent adults from deciding to raise children together.
Alcoholism and Fertility
Starting a family is a positive and common goal for both men and women. Alcoholism, however, can make it difficult to achieve that goal. In addition to the better known risks of alcoholism during pregnancy, addictions to alcohol can become an obstacle to fertility and conception altogether. This impacts both men and women in different but equally damaging ways.
In small amounts, alcohol has not been proven to have a problematic impact on the production of sperm for men. Men who struggle with alcoholism are heavy drinkers, and this can cause problems in the actual makeup of sperm DNA. This can make fertilization of the egg harder to achieve, and it can also lead to birth defects.
Excessive alcohol consumption among men can also lead to decreased testosterone levels. This wreaks havoc on men’s libido and sperm production. Reduced sperm motility is a significant issue that highlights just how much alcoholism can impact fertility.
Women can also suffer infertility as a direct result of alcoholism. To start, alcoholism can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Many women dealing with alcoholism no longer ovulate regularly, eliminating the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
Abusing alcohol and consuming it in large quantities can also negatively impact the female hormones that are necessary to become pregnant and then sustain pregnancy. Many studies show that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to increases in both the hormone testosterone and the hormone estrogen, and these increased levels make it more challenging for a woman to become pregnant. Finally, alcoholism can lead to malnutrition, because the body can’t properly absorb and use vitamins and minerals. This can inhibit the menstrual cycle and make impregnation even less likely for women.
Alcoholism and Financial Security
Clearly, alcoholism can make it difficult to start a family from a physical viewpoint. In addition, struggling with alcoholism can cause major financial issues that make planning for a family a serious challenge.
To start, alcoholism often leads to procuring alcohol at any costs. Those addicted to alcohol might spend a significant portion of their monthly budget drinking in bars, for example. They may also pay for the drinks of others in order to retain a drinking companion and not feel so lonely while consuming alcohol in public.
Alcoholism also makes it challenging to get or keep a job. Professionals who develop alcoholism may begin to show up late for work or their productivity may decrease. As a result, it is not uncommon for alcoholics to be terminated from their positions, making it even more difficult to pay bills.
Having a child is expensive. The cost of medical bills can be high right off the bat, but even after the newborn comes home there are expenses like diapers, clothing, and college funds to think about. For this reason, alcoholism and being prepared financially for a family rarely go hand in hand.
Alcoholism and Relationships
While it is possible to decide to have children without a partner, many individuals want to be in a relationship, or have the support of friends and family as they embark on this new adventure. Alcoholism, however, can be devastating to personal relationships. Under the influence of an addiction, people can lie, cheat and steal, unknowingly and unwittingly hurting their loved ones.
Anyone who has known a person with a substance abuse problem can understand the risks of starting a family in this condition. Alcoholism can change a person’s behavior, making it difficult to act appropriately or be there for loved ones. Unfortunately, all of these factors can disrupt relationships, making it less likely that men and women feel comfortable enough to start a family in the first place.
How Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Can Impact Pregnancy
If alcoholism can impact fertility, it should also be noted just how much it can actually harm a pregnancy. Drinking alcohol when pregnant may not be inherently bad in small, infrequent doses. For those who are struggling with alcoholism, however, moderation and limited frequency simply aren’t options. This means that alcoholics who are also pregnant can suffer from some serious side effects.
Excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, increasing health risks to the baby. It can also lead to growth and development problems, specifically when it comes to the heart, brain and lungs. Birth defects are common among babies born to alcoholic mothers, and things like vision or hearing loss are possible. Worse still, pregnant mothers can miscarry or deliver stillborn babies as a result of their addiction to alcohol.
Tackling Alcoholism in Order to Start a Family
Struggling with alcoholism doesn’t mean that individuals can never start families. To ensure the safest, healthiest children possible, however, it is wise to tackle alcoholism with the necessary treatment before trying to become pregnant.
Men and women who are concerned about the impact that their alcohol addiction can have on their fertility may want to attend a detox followed by a rehabilitation program. Treatment can reverse many of the most problematic health issues that can prevent or harm pregnancy, paving the way to starting a family. Treatment can also make it easier for men and women to handle the stress of pregnancy and family life without relapsing or feeling overwhelmed by stress and expectation.
In many ways, alcoholism can prevent individuals from starting a family. Addiction to alcohol can cause problems that limit fertility, and they can cause health problems to parents as well as birth defects to the child. Treating addiction before starting a family can reduce financial, physical and relationship problems, strengthening families in the process.