Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Any woman of childbearing age is at risk of having a child with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) if she drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can harm a fetus at any time, even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Many women drink early in pregnancy but stop drinking when they learn they are pregnant. Others cannot stop drinking without help. Women who have given birth to children with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and continue to drink are at very high risk of having additional children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.What Problems Do People With a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Face?
People with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are vulnerable to a range of difficulties, such as failure in school, substance abuse, mental illness, and involvement in the criminal justice system. A University of Washington study show the percentage of people age 6 to 51 with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder who had difficulties in the following areas:

  • 94 percent had mental health problems.
  • 23 percent had received inpatient care of mental illness.
  • 83 percent of adults experienced dependent living.
  • 79 percent of adults had employment problems.
  • 60 percent of those age 12 and older had trouble with the law.
  • 35 percent of adults and adolescents had been in prison for a crime.
  • 45 percent engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • 43 percent had disrupted school experiences (e.g., dropped out).
  • 24 percent of adolescents, 46 percent of adults and 35 percent overall had alcohol and drug problems.

10 10.Streissguth, A.P.; Bookstein. F.L.; Barr, H.M.;et al.2004 Risk factors for adverse life outcomes in fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects. Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics 25(4):228-238

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is 100 percent preventable. The only cause of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is prenatal exposure to alcohol. If a woman does not drink during pregnancy, her baby will not have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Individuals who already have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder should receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, prevention and support services. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder prevention and treatment strategies present an opportunity to address Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, raising hope for families everywhere.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day is September 9, 2008

Reprinted from The American Issue, April – June 2008, May 22.2008

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.