What Happens To Babies Born With An Addiction To Opioids?


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What Happens To Babies Born Into Addiction

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is the technical name given to a heartbreaking situation. Babies are born every day addicted to the drugs and alcohol their addicted mothers consumed during pregnancy. The minute the infants are born, they are disconnected from their source of drugs and alcohol which has been fed to them. As a result, the babies go into immediate shock and begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal.

Small and unable to explain what is happening to them, these newly born babes are tormented by the very same opioid withdrawal syndromes which likely kept their mothers addicted for so long. Opioid withdrawal is definitely something to cry about.

Many adults who are addicted to opioid drugs continue their cycle of addiction purely to avoid having to go through detox. Unfortunately, babies don’t have this chance. They can’t call a drug dealer or get a prescription. The tiny beings are forced to endure the symptoms of withdrawal on their own.

Thankfully, nursing wards are bringing in addiction specialized nurses to help nurture the babies through their detox. It takes a strong heart and a strong mind to be patient with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Some of the most common symptoms include severe irritability, vibrating legs, inability to sleep, inability to eat, and loud crying.

Nurses and doctors have described the babies’ crying as incomparable, full of pain and anguish. Tightly swaddling the babies in heated and weighted blankets helps babies relax. When they are completely inconsolable, they are given a small oral dose of liquid morphine to help ease the pain.

Do Addicted Babies Grow Into Addicted Adults?

The opioid epidemic is not the first of its kind nor is it new. However, the sudden onset of neonatal abstinence syndrome is new, with different states reporting a sharp increase in addiction-born babies.

Currently, there is no large amount of longitudinal data which follows these babies through their lives. Parents with a mental illness like opioid use disorder create a four to five time higher chance of their child developing a mental illness of their own. Co-occurring mental illnesses like depression and anxiety also create a higher likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.


Your impact in your life affects the lives of others. If you are struggling with an opioid addiction, you can recover. There is a solution. Call Lakehouse Recovery Center today for information on how or residential program can help you today at  877.762.3707.


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