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Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a group of conditions that occur in babies who experience withdrawal symptoms from certain drugs they were exposed to in the womb.

NAS most often occurs in babies whose mothers abused drugs like opioids, antidepressants, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines during pregnancy. Nearly anything a woman consumes while pregnant can affect the baby and drug abuse can cause adverse effects. As a drug and alcohol rehab in Massachusetts, we’re well aware of the long-term effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome and completely advise against any form of substance abuse in general, and especially during pregnancy.

Signs of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

The signs and symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome may vary depending on the substance that was taken and the baby. Most of these signs present themselves within the first 72 hours following birth but could occur weeks later. The symptoms of NAS can last from one week to six months following birth.

Common signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome include:

  • Body shakes or tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Twitching
  • Tightness in the muscles
  • Excessive, high-pitched crying
  • Rapid breathing
  • Slow weight gain or disinterest in feeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulties sleeping or yawning excessively
  • Stuffy nose or frequent sneezing

Pregnant women are not immune to addiction. This is a chronic disease that can occur in anyone despite their position in life. At Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts, we offer a variety of substance abuse programs, including opiate and prescription pill addiction treatment to help adults who are struggling with drug abuse get sober.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

Prescription opioid abuse is one of the most common causes of neonatal abstinence syndrome. The opioid epidemic has not helped in lowering cases of NAS in the United States. Pregnant women are no exception to the growing drug abuse problem. Alongside opioids, the dangers of cocaine use while pregnant as well as a variety of other substances is also a cause for concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a baby in the U.S. is born with a birth defect every 4.5 minutes, totaling nearly 120,000 babies affected by birth defects per year.1 Women are also at the highest risk of developing a substance abuse disorder during their reproductive years, which may also contribute to the growing rate of dependence among pregnant women.2

Factors like the substance used, frequency of use, doses used, and whether the mother engaged in polysubstance abuse can all affect the severity of the effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The most common long-term side effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome include:

  • Low birth weight, less than 5 pounds 8 ounces
  • Newborn jaundice, or the yellowing of a baby’s skin and white areas of the eyes
  • Seizures
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1-year-old (usually occurs during sleep)
  • Cognitive or developmental delays, which can include problems with speech, learning, and memory
  • Problems with motor movement
  • Behavioral and learning problems
  • Problems with sleep
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Problems with vision

The long-term effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome aren’t entirely clear. There may be various additional health problems that can occur as a result of using drugs while pregnant. Regardless of the situation, non-expecting and expecting men and women should abstain from drug and alcohol abuse at all costs.

If you or someone you know is battling drug or alcohol abuse, call Banyan Massachusetts now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our Massachusetts drug treatment center and levels of care.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.