X
For the latest COVID-19 information, including Good Shepherd's visitor policy, CLICK HERE.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Good Shepherd Pediatrics NAS Treatment Program offers help to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and also to facilitate positive caregiver-infant interaction and bonding. The therapeutic program takes place in a developmentally appropriate, low-stimulation environment and is led by a pediatrician and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician.

Drug withdrawal most frequently affects the central nervous system, gastrointestinal, autonomic and respiratory systems.Symptoms can present as early as 1 to 3 days after birth, or may take 5 or 10 days to appear. They may include mottling of skin, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive or high-pitched crying, excessive sucking, fever, hyperactive reflexes, irritability, rapid breathing, stuffy nose, sweating, seizures, sleep problems and trembling.

The Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Treatment Program at the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, provides inpatient care to address the complex medical needs of drug-dependent infants.

Treatment Team

Led by a pediatrician and pediatric physiatrist, Good Shepherd Pediatrics’ NAS Treatment Program provides a developmentally appropriate, low-stimulation environment where a multi-disciplinary team provides medication management and weaning. Along with the physicians, the team consists of pediatric specialty nurses, pediatric dietitians, physical and occupational therapists and behavioral counselors.

Treatment Process

Upon admission, each patient receives a comprehensive evaluation. Based on the results and taking into account the type and frequency of use, a plan of treatment is then created to address the neonate’s specific needs. The plan also takes into account the patient’s health and ability to metabolize and secrete the drug compounds.

Treating the symptoms of drug dependency is a priority and physicians carefully monitor and wean medications, such as morphine and methadone, prescribed after birth to lessen the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Other medications are often administered to calm the infant and address other healthcare needs.

As a result of the drug’s assault on the infant’s central nervous system, most NAS patients are irritable. The Good Shepherd NAS Program emphasizes reduction of irritability and establishes self-calming skills by providing patients with a low-stimulation environment that limits light and noise. To provide comfort, infants are swaddled and rocked. Also, care providers employ interventions to improve auto-regulation and sleep-wake cycles.

Admission Criteria

To be eligible for admission the patient must be medically stable with an ongoing need for medical management and monitoring and weaning of medications. The infant must be able to maintain normal body temperature in an open crib. The Good Shepherd NAS Program welcomes patients who need developmental intervention and a therapeutic low stimulation environment.


To request an appointment, please call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or fill out the form below.

Request an Appointment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.