Babies Born Addicted
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is the diagnosis given to newborns that are born addicted to drugs. Pregnant women pass substances through the placenta to their unborn child. For nine months the baby ingests everything the mother does. Even when pregnant moms attempt to limit or end their drug use through addiction treatment, the baby sometimes suffers from the medications used for withdrawal while pregnant.
Withdrawal symptoms in newborns can begin anywhere from 48-72 hours up to 8 days after birth. NAS has a scheduled system of reporting symptoms based upon severity for an accurate diagnosis. Tiny bodies are ravaged with tremors, fevers, muscle cramps, vomiting and diarrhea as well as additional withdrawal symptoms that most addicted adults go through. In every drug classification, except stimulants, SIDS is a risk.
These moms, unfortunately, receive negative feedback from a society who has no understanding about the true nature of addiction. Many times, these moms have a history of sexual and physical abuse which has led them to a life of drug addiction. Interviews with some moms show the remorse and guilt they feel for damaging their unborn child. In many cases they report a strong desire to break the pattern of family addiction.
Unfortunately, many of these children will grow up to have neurological, developmental and emotional disorders. Some researchers predict as many as 70% of these newborns will become drug addicts themselves. In addition to this prediction most medical professionals are concerned about the increasing cases of NAS and the implication that this will have 15-20 years from now. It would be interesting to see if there was any correlation between location of pain clinics and prevalence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.