What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome In An Adult?

There are plenty of warnings and stigma related to drinking during pregnancy, but does all drinking result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?

Are the effects permanent? Keep reading to learn more about how fetal alcohol syndrome can affect an adult.

It is important to understand the potential risks and consequences associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy to make informed decisions that can prevent harm to the developing fetus and ensure a healthier future for both mother and child.

What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a disorder caused by exposure to alcohol during development in the womb. The severity and types of problems resulting from FAS vary on a case by case basis, but the defects caused are permanent and irreversible.

There is no known “safe” amount of alcohol that a pregnant person can consume without causing FAS; a pregnant person drinking will result in a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) for the developing fetus, which metabolizes alcohol far more slowly than adult organs do.


There are a wide range of defects, symptoms, and disabilities that can result from FAS. Any mix of the following could result from FAS:

Physical Defects

  • Facial features like:
      • small eyes,
      • short, upturned nose,
      • notably thin upper lip, or
      • a lack of philtrum (the vertical groove between nose and upper lip)
  • Limb, joint, and finger deformities
  • Small brain size and head circumference
  • Heart, kidney, and bone defects
  • Stunted growth
  • Vision and hearing issues

Behavioral and social challenges

  • Struggles with switching tasks and adapting to change
  • Difficulty controlling impulses and focusing on one task
  • Poor concept of time and inability to develop and stick to a plan
  • Struggles to get along with others, or has poor social skills

Nervous system

  • Intellectual disability, developmental delays, and learning disorders
  • Difficulty with reasoning and identifying consequences necessary for problem solving
  • Struggles with information processing, attentiveness, and bad memory
  • Poor judgment skills, coordination, and balance
  • Rapidly changing moods and hyperactivity

Potential secondary disabilities stemming from FAS

People with FAS are at higher risk of developing conditions or problematic behaviors such as:

  • Mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Alcohol or drug dependency and addiction
  • Higher rates of arrest and incarceration
  • Higher rates of early death due to accident, homicide, or suicide

Challenges faced by adults with FAS

FAS is frequently missed or misdiagnosed, especially in adolescents and adults. This means that they missed out on vital resources at key points in development, pushing them further behind. This is further exacerbated by a lack of recognition of FAS as a medical condition, which creates insurance barriers to receiving proper treatment and assistance for disabilities.

Developmental delays, secondary disabilities and a history of ineffective treatment that lacks empathy for fetal alcohol syndrome in an adult can lead these individuals to be more prone to legal issues, mental health struggles, and finding and maintaining employment and independent housing.

Get Sober At Home And Reduce The Risk Of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome With Elite Home Detox

If you are pregnant or trying and struggling with alcohol dependency, Elite Home Detox can help. We are an in-home healthcare provider specializing in addiction recovery. Our services allow you to detox and receive aftercare treatment in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

You can learn to cope with everyday life without alcohol with a strong support system to help you in real time, rather than isolating yourself from your problems for weeks, only to be overwhelmed when you finish a traditional program. The sooner you stop drinking, the less likely your child is to suffer severe conditions later in life as a fetal alcohol syndrome in an adult. Our understanding experts can offer the discrete services you need to let go of alcohol and be your healthiest as you venture into parenthood.

We offer judgment-free healthcare focused on your needs and recovery. Reach out to Elite Home Detox today!


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