Sunday, November 06, 2011

shaking things up in SOWK 3312

So we have to write critiques of different studies for my Alcohol & Chemical Dependency class (social work elective) so I've somehow managed to involve religion & abortion in my first 3 critiques, pahah, and this one actually really intrigued me.

This is the article I picked.

~aNd My sUpEr sChOLaRLy rEsPoNsE:~

This article from the Elliot Institute describes the increased chance of substance abuse among post-abortive women, the likelihood of abortion among women who have substance abuse problems, and described the cycle of abuse that can form from abortion and substance abuse.
            I didn’t realize how many women begin to abuse alcohol after an abortion; I guess I had assumed more so that women would already be abusing alcohol and perhaps the impaired judgment that would result from the dependency or the negative relationship tendencies that would emerge from substance abuse could lead her to a situation where she would seek an abortion. It’s interesting that the scientific community is actually acknowledging abortion as having negative psychological and physical effects on women; I’ve found that to be very rare. According to a study of women who were pregnant prior to a history of substance abuse, 3.8 % of women abused substances after having their baby while 14.6% of women who aborted their first baby abused substances. Those statistics were astonishing to me. It makes me wonder how people can deny the negative and destructive effects that abortion has on women. Applying those statistics to annual abortion numbers, 54,000 women “may begin abusing drugs and/or alcohol as a means of dealing with post-abortion stress” annually. I personally think that number is probably a lot higher in the long run because some women may not engage in substance abuse initially but according to a recent study (British Journal of Psychiatry) post-abortive women “have an 81 percent higher risk for mental health problems and are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse alcohol and suffer depression.” It seems to me that if the woman were to first experience depression or if she were to repress the negative experience of the abortion, she may not abuse drugs or alcohol until further down the road. For that reason, I feel like the study may not have been as thorough as possible, but it did cover all of its bases on an annual scale.
            I think topics such as those discussed in this study are extremely important to the social work field. When faced with a client in a crisis pregnancy situation, some social workers may feel that it is ethical to encourage or promote abortion as an option, but this study is one reason that – in my opinion – rules abortion out as a healthy option. To care for a patient and “do no harm” it would be futile and counterproductive to recommend a procedure to a client that would very likely throw her into the arms of an addiction, a potential dependency, or make her more vulnerable to depression & mental health disorders. It is important to understand these effects so that rather than invest time into recommending the procedure, later finding an addictions counselor, or therapist to undo the trauma of what can’t be undone, a social worker can put that time and energy into locating resources and helpful materials, healthcare, and services for a client.



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