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A 21-year-old member asked:

Are fetal alcohol syndrome children more susceptible to addiction?

3 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gwendolyn Messer
Specializes in Pediatrics
It depends...: Alcoholism may run in families. If a baby was exposed to alcohol because his/her mom was an alcoholic, then that child may have an increased risk of addiction. However, if the baby was exposed to alcohol because his/her mom drank several times at parties, for instance, but does not struggle with addiction, then the baby should have no increased risk of addiction.
Dr. Gwendolyn Messer
Specializes in Pediatrics
It depends...: Alcoholism may run in families. If a baby was exposed to alcohol because his/her mom was an alcoholic, then that child may have an increased risk of addiction. However, if the baby was exposed to alcohol because his/her mom drank several times at parties, for instance, but does not struggle with addiction, then the baby should have no increased risk of addiction.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 51 years experience
Children with Fetal: Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have deficits in executive functions because alcohol targets & kills neurons in the fetal frontal cortex. Inability to understand cause-&-effect, learn from mistakes, control impulses & resist peer pressure ^ risk of alcoholism & substance abuse in teens with FASD separately from genetic loading for mental illness & addiction. See www. fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/Index.aspx
Dr. Nayana Trivedi
Internal Medicine 40 years experience
Such nice way of explaining. Hope lots of people read your answer.
Apr 4, 2015
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 51 years experience
Provided original answer
Thank you. For 26 years I worked with Dr. Colleen Morris, a geneticist who helped the National Institute of Medicine revise its nomenclature for FASD. If parents didn't grasp the above facts, she'd calmly & kindly say, "The part of his brain that tells him whether or not to go out & rob a liquor store is gone". Impaired EF occurs even if the characteristic facies of FASD seen above are absent.
Apr 4, 2015
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 51 years experience
Provided original answer
FASD is the most common preventable cause of Intellectual Disability. 70% of fertile women in the US drink alcohol. 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Alcohol is teratogenic from 3 weeks after conception till delivery. ½ oz. of absolute alcohol/ day or 4 drinks that each = ½ oz. of absolute alcohol at weekend parties confer risk of FASD in offspring of women, often before pregnancy is diagnosed.
Apr 4, 2015

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Last updated Jan 20, 2017

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