Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Adults: Symptoms and Solutions

If you’re looking for further information, please don’t hesitate to browse the Indiana Alliance FASD resources. We’re continuously creating blog posts, webpages, and downloads to support families dealing with FASD symptoms. The key is understanding what makes the person feel most comfortable and what type of community best supports their unique needs. Social interactions are crucial, but they must take place in safe, positive environments. Are they curious about certain subjects, or are do they thrive most when caring for others? Pay close attention to the environments and activities that support their success.

Consider giving up alcohol during your childbearing years if you’re sexually active and you’re having unprotected sex. Many pregnancies are unplanned, and damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. In doing so, you can effectively support the adult with FASD while also helping them avoid feeling overwhelmed. The fewer decisions the person has to make, the more they can excel in their tasks, jobs, and social relationships.

Because a fetus cannot break down alcohol as quickly and efficiently as an adult, alcohol is considered to cause FAS because it remains in the fetus’s body for much longer. The most obvious strategy to prevent FAS is to abstain from alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy. This syndrome can be avoided if alcohol is not ingested during this period. If you attempt to conceive or suspect that you may already be pregnant, you should also avoid consuming alcohol. Many individuals with FASD can be impulsive when acting and speaking their minds, and some struggle with filtering their statements to ensure they’re appropriate.

What Are the Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

These deficiencies can cause several issues as the person develops into a child and adult. In fact, many individuals with FAS require specialized care to cope with their condition. If you’re about to become a parent or have a pregnant loved one who struggles with alcohol, then it’s important to seek outalcohol addiction treatmentas soon as possible. If you, or a loved one, is a heavy drinker, eco sober house price then analcohol/drug detoxmight be necessary to get the recovery process started. Fetal alcohol syndrome occurs when the mother drinks during pregnancy and the developing fetus is exposed to alcohol. Some common symptoms that arise from FAS include slower development of the child, growing less quickly than children their age, mental retardation, and other facial abnormalities.

The pattern of facial defects resulting from ethanol exposure during development primarily affects the midline of the face, altering the morphology of the eyes, nose, and lips. Ethanol damage to cranial neural crest cells early in embryonic development is responsible for these minor midline abnormalities. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was first defined in 1973 as a condition characterized by pre-and postnatal growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, and central nervous system defects. The pattern of facial defects resulting from ethanol exposure during development primarily affects the midline of the face, altering the morphology of the eyes, nose, and lips . Behavioral interventions for affected children, include training in social skills, problem-solving, and personal safety.

2 For this reason, doctors recommend that expecting mothers don’t drink alcohol while pregnant. More research is necessary to define the physical phenotype in adulthood but currently, the research suggests that microcephaly, a thin upper lip, and shortened stature are persistent features. In an adult who has not previously been evaluated for FASDs, these features could alert a health care provider that such an evaluation should be considered. Fetal alcohol syndrome face adult may include an overall narrowing of the forehead, shortened midface, and underdevelopment of the chin also usually accompany these ethanol-induced abnormalities. These defects are generally more pronounced in infants and children and tend to become less noticeable as growth through adolescence and adulthood alters facial morphology.

  • People with FAS or FASD tend to have a higher arrest and imprisonment rate.
  • The pattern of facial defects resulting from ethanol exposure during development primarily affects the midline of the face, altering the morphology of the eyes, nose, and lips .
  • One significant secondary effect of FAS is the increased risk of legal trouble.
  • Knowing the signs and symptoms in adults can help you get treatment.

There is no safe amount, as there is no safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Save your unborn child from the above-mentioned complications of fetal alcohol syndrome by abstaining from alcohol NOW. Getting treatment early can help prevent some of the problems people with FAS may develop later in life, such as legal issues, mental https://sober-home.org/ health disorders and being dependent on a caregiver. Dr. Scot Thomas received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. In his post-graduate clinical work, Dr. Thomas later applied the tenets he learned to help guide his therapeutic approach with many patients in need of substance treatment.


These individuals thrive on routines and patterns that help them make sense of their days. When their schedules are inconsistent or hectic, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder adults can feel confused, frustrated, or exasperated. Fortunately, there are ways that parents, friends, and family members can support individuals with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The consequences of fetal alcohol syndrome are lifelong and include mental, physical, and behavioral concerns. Women who consume excessive amounts of alcohol while pregnant increase the risk of their child developing FAS, although no amount of alcohol use is considered safe.

That’s why loved ones should provide opportunities to practice positive interpersonal reactions. Adults with the disorder need the opportunity to experience different types of interactions and build their interpersonal skills. ADHD is defined as a pattern of behaviors earmarked by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and severe inattention. A study of Australian researchers has shown that up to 94% of people who were exposed to alcohol during their mothers’ pregnancies exhibited the said disorder. However, ADHD symptoms can hamper studies, employment, and other activities. A largely unaddressed fact is that adults with FAS face a high risk of developing a drug or alcohol use disorder.

fetal alcohol syndrome adults

The cause of fetal alcohol syndrome is a woman drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. Whatever alcohol is in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream will pass through the umbilical cord to the developing baby . The fetus cannot process alcohol through the liver or other organs, so it is exposed to the same amount of alcohol as is present in the mother’s bloodstream and for a longer period of time.

These individuals will excel the most when they’re a part of an accepting, comfortable community. No two adults with FASD have the same strengths, preferences, or interests – and it’s important to recognize the need for customized environments. As a friend or loved one, you have the opportunity to recognize differences in the individual’s brain functioning, then help them cultivate a life that plays to their gifts. Mental health concerns are arguably the most noticeable FASD symptom present in adults, impacting up to 90% of all individualswith the disorder. Because FASD can be relatively difficult to diagnose and treat, we don’t know exactly how many United States adults live with the spectrum disorder today.

Mental Health Problems

In short, the only surefire way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Otherwise, FAS will have serious effects on the child into their adult life. Moreover, the physical and mental implications of fetal alcohol syndrome outlined previously, adults with FAS are also at a higher risk for the condition’s secondary effects. This has a great deal to do with the adult’s developmental age, rather than their chronological age. Many do not have physical signs of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and although they look like a typical adult, they may need more guidance and structure than someone else their age.

  • Patients tended to remain short and microcephalic, although their weight was somewhat closer to the mean.
  • Speaking of conversations, positive social experiences are a key aspect of supporting an adult with FASD.
  • This is why diagnosing FASD in less severe cases can be challenging.
  • But because FAS is so difficult to diagnose, it’s often not considered in rehabilitation or reentry into society programs.
  • Specialized coaches and counselors may be required to help these individuals live happily and relatively independently.
  • As an adult with fetal alcohol syndrome, you’re going to be facing a series of uphill battles.

Sexual misconduct is common in people with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome due to the impairments brought about by the condition. With these dysfunctions, a lot of these people engage in inappropriate sexual behaviors – with most of them going to jail due to such infractions. As people with FAS reach adulthood, both they and their caregivers face additional challenges.

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There’s also a likelihood that if the mother continues struggling with alcohol post pregnancy, that she has not taken appropriate action to have her child assessed for the condition. In these cases especially, individuals may go through childhood and adolescence without any awareness of their condition, further increasing the many ways families are affected by alcoholism. The most obvious way to prevent FAS is to refrain from drinking alcohol while pregnant.

  • Dr. Scot Thomas received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
  • A portion of the alcohol taken during pregnancy crosses the placenta and enters the fetus.
  • In an adult who has not previously been evaluated for FASDs, these features could alert a health care provider that such an evaluation should be considered.

Children who are born with FASD can have a mix of problems, such as medical, behavioral, educational, and social problems. The kinds of problems they have to depend on which type of FASD they have. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a type of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder that develops due to a mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This condition can cause several health complications in the fetus, including low birth weight, cognitive disabilities, and developmental problems. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

The disorder is complex – it can take years to understand how it manifests in your friend or child and how you can best assist them with their unique challenges. According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, adults may also benefit from interacting with others who have symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Consider helping your loved one find an in-person or online FASD support group. This will give them the chance to bond with others facing similar struggles.

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In fact, studies have shown that up to half of all people with FAS will experience trouble with the law at least once in their lifetime. Crimes committed by individuals with FAS are often due to this condition’s developmental and mental effects. For example, eco sober house ma a person may steal because they don’t understand the concept of ownership. In addition to the physical and mental effects of fetal alcohol syndrome discussed above, adults with FAS are also at an increased risk of the secondary effects of this condition.

According to a University of Washington study of people with FAS aged 6-51, nearly 80% had employment problems. What’s more, over 60% of those over age 12 had legal troubles, and 35% had drug and alcohol use disorders. Adults can be evaluated and diagnosed as well, although there are challenges including obtaining reliable alcohol exposure histories and changes in the physical phenotype among others. In fact, many people with FAS have difficulty due to the condition into adulthood and the rest of their lives.