Fetal alcohol syndrome: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Pediatricians may also refer FASD-diagnosed patients to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) system so they can obtain income assistance and medical insurance. Many infants and children with FASD may be eligible for SSI. Furthermore, SSI can help adolescents and young adults with income support and medical insurance beyond 26 years of age, if not available through their parents. In some cases, your healthcare provider might be able to diagnose a child with fetal alcohol syndrome at birth based on small size and specific physical appearance. However, diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can be difficult.
FASD may present in childhood or early adulthood with mild social or intellectual concerns, or it can present with birth defects and growth problems during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a condition that develops in a fetus (developing baby) when a pregnant person drinks alcohol during pregnancy. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that happen together as the result of a particular disease or abnormal condition. When someone has fetal alcohol syndrome, they’re at the most severe end of what are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). It is important to recognize that features of ND-PAE are very similar to those of ADHD, and that ADHD is a commonly found co-occurring illness.
How Can Alcohol Consumption Affect Developing Fetuses?
Prenatal alcohol exposure and central nervous system (CNS) involvement are factors common to the disorders encompassing FASD. Evidence of CNS involvement can be structural (e.g., small brain size, alterations in specific brain regions) or functional (e.g., cognitive and behavioral deficits, motor and coordination problems). For fetal alcohol syndrome—which is also characterized by growth deficiencies, distinct facial features, and other physical factors in addition to CNS involvement—confirmation of prenatal alcohol exposure is not required. FAS is caused by alcohol consumption by a pregnant person. Prenatal alcohol exposure may cause deficits in neurocognition, self-regulation, and adaptive function. Learn the differential diagnosis for neurobehavioral disorders commonly seen in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) in order to coordinate care based on a child’s neurobehavioral strengths and limitations.
The families of people with FAS should also be included in treatment interventions. There is no safe amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy. Even a small amount of alcohol can have adverse effects on a growing fetus.
Characteristics of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
However, there is a lack of research to confirm the effectiveness of these therapies. Before trying any alternative therapy for FAS, parents or caregivers should speak with the child’s pediatrician or a doctor who specializes in FASDs. One study found life expectancy is significantly reduced compared to people without FAS (most often due to external causes such as suicide, accidents, or overdose of alcohol or drugs). Physical symptoms such as growth impairment remain unchanged during adulthood, with persistent shorter stature. Brain maturation can become prolonged, and aging can accelerate. CHOICES program and alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI).
- Not only can this prevent fetal alcohol syndrome disorders in future children, it can also provide the mother with parenting skills to help their child with fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Therefore, people who are trying to get pregnant may be pregnant for 1 month or more without knowing it.
- Screening for facial features is a simple addition to the physical exam.
Early identification can improve the outcome for children with FAS and raise their quality of life. Some research suggests that a pregnant person’s environment may also play a role. Living in stressful, isolated, or adverse conditions may increase the chance of FAS. The frequency, strength, and quantity of alcoholic drinks have an effect, as well as the timing of consumption. Drinking alcohol late in a pregnancy increases the likelihood of FAS.
Don’t start an alcohol elimination program without telling your healthcare provider. They may be able to direct you to further options for achieving your goals and provide the medical care that may be necessary to withdraw from alcohol. Alcohol was not viewed as dangerous for pregnant people until 1973 when the diagnosis of FAS was first implemented. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not make a public awareness announcement about the side effects of alcohol use during pregnancy until 1977.
- However, early treatment of some symptoms can lessen the severity and improve your child’s development.
- Drinking alcohol late in a pregnancy increases the likelihood of FAS.
- Damage can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy when a woman might not yet know that she is pregnant.
- A common defect is a hole in the wall that separates the right and left lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
- “Further, toxic byproducts formed from the process of breaking down alcohol can build up in the fetus’s brain and cause damage,” she adds.
This may be due, in part, to a lack of information about prenatal alcohol exposure or difficulty in distinguishing FASD from other developmental disorders that might have similar cognitive or behavioral symptoms. Using alcohol during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable birth defects, developmental disabilities and learning disabilities. However, the only way to prevent FAS is to avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol during pregnancy. The signs and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome can vary. One person might have only a few, while another person could experience all of them.
Assessment for an FASD
Children do best if they are diagnosed early and referred to a team of providers who can work on educational and behavioral strategies that fit the child’s needs. Drinking alcohol is likely most harmful during the first https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/fetal-alcohol-syndrome-overview/ 3 months of pregnancy. But drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful. Lifelong treatment is required and is more effective if collaborative care coordination occurs between all professional agencies.
Newborns may need special care in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). A newborn may get medicine to help with alcohol withdrawal. To prevent FASDs, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ a woman should avoid alcohol if she is pregnant or might be pregnant. This is because a woman could get pregnant and not know for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
The Mental Health Effects of a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Not only can this prevent fetal alcohol syndrome disorders in future children, it can also provide the mother with parenting skills to help their child with fetal alcohol syndrome. There are no medications to treat fetal alcohol syndrome specifically. But certain medicines can help with symptoms like hyperactivity, inability to focus, or anxiety.