Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Lisa Brown, PhD, RN


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a syndrome characterized by a multitude of withdrawal signs occurring from exposure to drugs in utero. The incidence of NAS is increasing at an alarming rate. Treatment for these newborns involved administering an opioid derivative to counteract these signs and very little non-pharmacological therapies. This is slowly changing with the introduction of the Eat, Sleep Console (ESC) tool that many hospitals are moving to, as it also adds rooming-in as a standard practice and encourages breastfeeding. Unfortunately, while these modalities have been shown to help with these signs of withdrawal, many newborns are still being medicated to assist with their withdrawal signs for NAS. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine if auricular acupressure was viable as an adjunct treatment for withdrawal signs.

Participants (N=12 mother/newborn dyads) were recruited from two local hospitals and asked to participate in the study. Maternal and newborn demographics were collected, and the treatment, auricular acupressure, was given on Days 2 – 4 of life. ESC scores and vital signs were collected pre- and post-treatment. The results showed a statistically significant effect on heart rate on Day 2 and an aggregate effect across the three days, with a clinically significant effect. There was no significant effect on temperature. Respiratory rate was clinically and statistically significant on all days and across the three days. ESC scores were unable to be analyzed.


© Lindy Edwards

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Tuesday, December 15, 2026