Fetal Alcohol Syndrome In Adults

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on October 3, 2023

Fetal alcohol syndrome can have a lifelong impact, especially without a proper diagnosis and early treatment. However, no matter your age, if you have been impacted by some form of FASD there are treatment options available that can help manage and improve your condition.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are considered childhood conditions. But children grow up, and the effects of these neurodevelopmental disorders are lasting and can negatively influence people from birth until old age.

However, fetal alcohol syndrome is also a treatable condition. If you or a loved one have struggled with FAS or FASD, with or without a timely diagnosis, know that you have options, including professional treatment services provided by Ohio Recovery Center (ORC).

Together, we can work with you to help you live a better, healthier, and more intentional life.

What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a set of developmental disorders that occur due to pregnant women drinking alcohol. This untimely alcohol consumption negatively impacts the developing baby through the umbilical cord and placenta.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the best known and most severe form of FASD and is usually diagnosed in childhood using a variety of signs and symptoms, including:

  • low birth weight
  • abnormally low height and weight during childhood
  • alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the newborn
  • infant sleep and sucking problems
  • birth defects and abnormalities in brain size and face shape, especially thin upper lip, small eyes, small head and other telltale facial features
  • problems with physical coordination
  • hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • learning problems
  • hearing problems

Other less serious forms of FASD are more common and easier for healthcare providers to miss, with the severity of the condition dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed and the developmental stage of the unborn child when exposed.

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FAS In Children Vs. Adults

For children born with FAS or some other form of FASD, early diagnosis and intervention can make a tremendous difference for overall life satisfaction and wellness. Medical professionals in Ohio screen for signs of FASD and other developmental disabilities throughout childhood.

While pediatric patients are most often diagnosed with FAS, there are a large number of Ohio residents who go through childhood and enter adulthood struggling with more or less severe effects related to prenatal alcohol exposure without being properly diagnosed.

In fact, without the most obvious indicators of an FASD, properly detecting and treating the condition may be difficult. However, no matter what age an individual is when FASD is suspected, proper treatment and intervention can make a positive difference in their life.

Symptoms Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome In Adults

Adults with fetal alcohol syndrome may experience a wide variety of negative symptoms, including an increased risk for:

  • mental health disorders, especially major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder/ADHD, and personality disorders
  • learning, memory, and attention difficulties
  • other intellectual disability or mental health problems
  • poor school performance and suspension, expulsion, or dropping out of school
  • hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • problems with employment, financial security, and independent living
  • arrest and criminal activity
  • poor communication and social skills
  • substance abuse and substance use disorders
  • sexually deviant behavior
  • fine motor impairment
  • vision and hearing problems
  • poor emotional regulation

Treating FAS In Adults

While there is no cure for FASD or FAS, many treatment options are available to help manage and improve the condition. 

Although early diagnosis and treatment are important and can have lifelong benefits, often preventing secondary disabilities before they occur, evidence-based treatment services can still be highly beneficial for adolescents and adults presenting with FASD symptoms.

In Ohio, these treatment options primarily include:

  • medical care for secondary conditions, often involving use of medications like prescription stimulants, antidepressants, neuroleptics, and anti-anxiety medications
  • detox/addiction treatment services for co-occurring substance use disorders, if needed
  • behavioral therapies and psychosocial therapies
  • special education programs or occupational training
  • alternative therapies
  • peer support

Therapy and supporting programs may also be recommended for family members, loved ones, and other caregivers to bolster one’s overall support system and home environment.

Ohio Recovery Center

If you have experienced FASD and common secondary conditions like substance abuse, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, personality disorders, please consider participating in the mental health services provided by Ohio Recovery Center.

Our Northwest Ohio treatment facility offers advanced inpatient care for a variety of alcohol-related conditions, including alcohol use disorders, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and other co-occurring mental health conditions.

Call us today to learn more.

  1. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/secondary-conditions.html
  2. Current Developmental Disorders Reports https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629517/
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorders

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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