Facts on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a term that includes both FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects). Studies indicate that FASD affects 40,000 babies in the U.S. each year, making alcohol during pregnancy the leading cause of brain damage in infants today.
- When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby. Therefore, it is in the child’s best interest for a pregnant woman to not drink any alcohol. Even moderate amounts of alcohol in the womb can have a lifelong impact on learning and behavioral development.
- There is no cure, but FASD can be prevented through education and support.
- Based on long-term research of cost and prevalence data in the states of Washington and North Dakota , it is estimated that there are almost 3 million individuals in the United States with FASD, and that care for these individuals costs the U.S. approximately $7.5 billion each year.
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) cause permanent damage to the developing brain, resulting in neurological impairment of the executive functions. Affected individuals often have difficulty functioning in everyday life and are not able to implement effective problem-solving strategies.
- FASD is the leading known preventable cause of mental retardation and birth defects.
- An individual with fetal alcohol syndrome can incur a lifetime health cost of over $800,000.
- In 2003, fetal alcohol syndrome cost the United States $5.4 billion. Direct costs were $3.9 billion, while indirect costs added another $1.5 billion.
- Children do not outgrow FASD. The physical and behavioral problems can last for a lifetime.
- FAS and FASD are found in all racial and socio-economic groups.
- FAS and FASD are not genetic disorders. Women with FAS or affected by FASD have healthy babies if they do not drink alcohol during their pregnancy.