Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term that refers to the range of effects that occurs in a person who has been exposed to alcohol while in utero. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, it can be passed through her bloodstream to the fetus, thereby exposing the developing fetus to the effects of alcohol use. This exposure can include limited growth and development of the central nervous system and affect all physical and neurological systems.
Some of the effects of FASD include:
- Memory issues
- Learning disorders
- Communication disorders
- Cognitive problems
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Physical challenges (such as growth deficiency, poor coordination, seizures, problems with sight or hearing)
- Mental health challenges and disorders
- Behaviour problems and disorders
There are two types of disorders that are diagnosed within the fetal alcohol spectrum:
According to the New Canadian Guidelines published in 2015 there are only two diagnoses:
- FASD with Sentinel Facial Features
- FASD without Sentinel Facial Features
There is also a designation:
At risk for neurodevelopmental disorder and FASD, associated with prenatal alcohol exposure – note this is not a diagnosis.
It’s important to note that with the exception of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder, not all medical and psychological professionals agree on these specific disorders – there are also alcohol related birth defects and neurobehavioural disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. But there is definitely a clear agreement that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder comes with a host of challenges that can make life more difficult for those affected and for those who are parenting and loving those affected.
It’s also important to note that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can, and does occur, in all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
When is it time to get help?
If you, yourself are dealing with FASD, we can support you and/or complement your other therapies. If you are a parent of a child with FASD, we can also help you on this journey.
FASD treatment methods
FASD is a lifelong condition. There is no cure and no one treatment method that works for everyone who has FASD. However, with various therapeutic techniques, behaviour interventions, medications, and parent education and support, symptoms can be better managed – possibly resulting in better independence and success. Early diagnosis and intervention is key. Your therapist will work with you to find out the best way to support you and/or your child.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
We can help with education about this condition, offer parenting support, behaviour and other therapies. Our nonjudgmental and highly-trained therapists have experience in treating those afflicted with this disorder and can offer online telephone or in-person counselling. Contact us today to learn more.
2015 Canadian FASD Diagnostic guideline. Read more here: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/188/3/191.full.pdf