Drug Dependence

Drug Dependence & Devastating Birth Defects

Addiction hurts the individual suffering, as well as the friends and family surrounding them. When a woman is pregnant, the situation becomes more complex, as drug dependence can cause life-altering birth defects for the unborn child. Brightside Clinic understands each situation requires personalized drug addiction treatment, particularly when there’s a risk of fetal harm.

The clinic works with women in the Highland Park, Lake County, Will County, southern Cook County, and Chicago area to combat the addiction as early as possible in attempts to improve the quality of life for mothers and babies. Sadly, even with early intervention, there can be permanent birth defects from opiate use during pregnancy. With Birth Defects Awareness Week kicking off May 14, the Brightside team wants to raise awareness of these issues.

Congenital Heart Defects

Expectant mothers who suffer from heroin addiction greatly increase their child’s risk for a congenital heart defect. In other words, the child could be born with some structural issue of the heart, which may even prove fatal. According to statistics, issues with the heart are the leading cause of newborn death compared to any other birth defect. Because it’s dangerous to simply quit taking the medications due to opiate withdrawals, Brightside Clinic wants to help safely eliminate the mother’s use as quickly as possible.

Spina Bifida

Drug dependence during pregnancy can also affect neurological development. For example, a condition known as spina bifida can cause motor problems, learning difficulties, and an array of other life-long challenges for the child.


Hydrocephaly, which can be a symptom of spina bifida or a free standing birth defect, is fluid on the brain with the potential to cause everything from seizures to slowed development. The Brightside Clinic specialists are passionate about helping these mothers throughout the addiction treatment process to fight potential negative affects on the way to recovery.


Gastroschisis is a somewhat rarer defect linked to drug dependence during pregnancy. In this condition, the infant is born with portions of his intestinal tract outside of the body, and this defect leads to surgery and long recovery for the infant after birth.

No mother wants to see her child in pain. Naturally, an expectant mother suffering from opiate addiction has even more motivation to seek help. The treatment experts at both Brightside Clinic locations welcome these women with open arms and guide them through addiction recovery.

If you or someone you love is in need of drug addiction treatment near Elgin, St. Charles or Des Plaines, Illinois, speak with a member of the Brightside Clinic team about your options.