fetal alcohol syndrom help

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Understanding the Risks

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Roughly 14 million adults abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. Unfortunately, alcoholism is a growing problem in the U.S with the average adult consuming 1.7 gallons of pure alcohol a year. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to many health conditions over time that not only affect you but your loved ones as well. For instance, drinking while pregnant can have a negative impact on pregnancy, leading to a condition called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is because alcohol in the mother’s blood is passed to the baby via the umbilical cord.

What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition that is a result of a mother drinking throughout her pregnancy. This condition can limit mental development and physical growth, specifically of the skull and face of the infant. It’s important to note that every infant won’t experience the same problems with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. With that said, the effects of this condition are irreversible. These problems can include physical defects, issues with the brain and central nervous system, and social and behavioral issues. Here are a few symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Physical Defects

  • Children can experience heart defects. Additionally, there may be issues with the kidneys and bones.
  • Slow physical growth that is present before and after birth.
  • Deformed joints, limbs, and fingers.
  • Distinctive facial features. This can include things such as small eyes, a short upturned nose, and a drastically thinner lip.

Brain and Central Nervous System

  • Poor memory
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Difficulty with reasoning and problem solving
  • Moods that change rapidly

Social and Behavioral

  • Difficulties staying on task
  • Impulse control
  • Poor social skills
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty in school

Types of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDS)

Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE): Children who have ND-PAE will generally exhibit behavioral problems. These children have trouble planning, issues with thinking and memory, and may even forget things they’ve already learned. Additionally, children can have issues with day-to-day living including problems with bathing and putting on clothes.

Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD): Children who have this condition may experience issues with their kidneys, bones, heart, or hearing. It’s important to note that they can potentially have a mix of these issues and not just one.

Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorder (ARND): Children with this condition can exhibit behavioral and learning problems. These children tend to have issues in school, specifically with math. Additionally, memory and attention can become an issue.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): FAS is the most complex condition on the spectrum. Children that have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may have distorted facial features, growth problems, and issues with their nervous system. In more extreme cases, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can result in death.

Finding Help In Fresno California

If you or a loved one suffers from alcoholism and are currently pregnant or will become pregnant, there are options available to help you. No one has to deal with alcoholism alone and the road to recovery can be simpler than you may think. The first thing that anyone should do is recognize that there is a problem. After that has been established, the next important thing is to realize what options are available to you.

Someone who suffers from alcoholism may benefit from seeking out a counselor who they can rely on as support by sharing their problems and then devising a plan to tackle the issue. Additionally, there are other options such as partaking in a residential program that can offer things such as professional help, group therapy, and individual therapy to help with your addiction.

At First Steps Recovery, we offer the full continuum of care in addiction recovery in Central Valley, California. We are dedicated to helping individuals deal with their addiction journey from the start to finish. If you or a loved one are pregnant and suffer from alcoholism, we welcome you to contact us now for a free consultation.

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