Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Challenges Faced In Adults
The challenges faced by adults with FAS are complex and lifelong. According to recent CDC studies, FAS impacts 0.3 to 9 out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. Prenatal alcohol exposure causes permanent brain damage and growth problems.
As adults, those with FAS struggle in many areas of daily life. They often have trouble living independently, holding down jobs, and maintaining relationships. A low IQ, impaired judgment, poor impulse control, and problems with memory and reasoning make it difficult to cope with adult responsibilities.
The challenges of FAS are ongoing and wide-ranging. But with compassion and the right support systems in place, those affected can thrive and live purposeful lives. Continued research, education and advocacy are key to improving outcomes and opportunities for this vulnerable population. By understanding their complex needs, we can make a meaningful difference.
What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) refers to a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the placenta.
FAS causes brain damage and physical defects that can affect your baby’s development. The effects vary but may include abnormal facial features, growth problems, central nervous system dysfunction, and behavioral problems. There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Any amount can harm your baby’s development.
The challenges faced by those with FAS do not end in childhood. As adults, people with FAS may struggle in many areas of daily life due to the brain damage caused before birth. They may have trouble living independently, finding and keeping a job, and maintaining healthy relationships.
Recognizing Facial Features of FAS in Adults
Recognizing the signs of fetal alcohol syndrome in adults can be challenging, but doctors look for some common facial features that may indicate a diagnosis of FAS.
The most telling signs are subtle abnormalities in the face. Doctors look for features like:
- A small head circumference. The head may appear disproportionately small compared to the body.
- Thin upper lip. The groove between the nose and upper lip is smooth, lacking the usual crease.
- Flat cheekbones. The midface appears flattened, and the eyes may seem wide-set.
- Small eye openings. The openings of the eyes are smaller than average.
- Short stature. Adults with FAS are often shorter than average.
While the facial features associated with FAS may become less pronounced with age, trained physicians can still identify key characteristics that point to a possible FAS diagnosis. A diagnosis of FAS in adulthood can help explain challenges with learning, memory, emotional regulation, and social skills. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and providing support.
Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Adults With FAS
As an adult with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), you may face significant cognitive and behavioral challenges that impact your daily life.
Intellectual Disabilities and Learning Difficulties
One of the primary difficulties individuals with FAS encounter is intellectual disabilities and learning problems. You may have trouble understanding concepts, learning new skills, and adapting to change. Everyday tasks like managing money, transportation, and employment can be challenging.
Poor Judgment and Impulsivity
FAS can also affect your ability to exercise good judgment and control impulsive behaviors. You may act without thinking about the consequences of your actions. This can lead to poor decision-making, legal trouble, addiction, and victimization.
Mental Health Issues
Adults with FAS have a higher risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. The difficulties you face can make you more vulnerable to these conditions. Seeking diagnosis and treatment, such as therapy and medication, is important for your well-being and success.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in adults can be tricky since the physical symptoms tend to become less noticeable over time. However, doctors can still look for certain signs to determine if an adult has FAS. These include:
- Facial features like small eye openings, thin upper lip, and low nasal bridge.
- Growth problems such as being very short or underweight.
- Skeletal issues like small head size, curved spine, or hip problems.
While FAS cannot be cured, various treatments can help manage symptoms in adults. The treatment plan focuses on each person’s unique needs, addressing both physical and mental health.
Some options include:
- Occupational therapy to improve life skills
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for mental health issues like mood disorders
- Speech therapy to improve communication abilities
- Vocational training to build job skills
- Addiction counseling or support groups
The key goals are helping adults with FAS live as independently as possible, build coping strategies, and find purpose or meaning in their lives.
Protecting Your Child from the Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is Key
As an expectant mother struggling with alcohol addiction, protecting your unborn baby should be your top priority. At MD Home Detox, we understand how difficult overcoming addiction can be, especially when facing life changes like pregnancy. Our in-home detox and recovery services are designed to offer you the support you need in a comfortable, private setting.
Giving your child the best start in life begins with getting the proper treatment for yourself. Call us at 1 (888) 592-7931 for a free consultation about our personalized recovery plans. We believe every mother deserves the opportunity to raise a happy, healthy baby, and we’re here to provide the resources and community support to make that possible.