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Mental Health Problems Resulting From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Several studies have shown an increased risk for cognitive disorders, psychiatric illness, or psychological dysfunction among individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome. The most frequently diagnosed disorders are:
  • Attention problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conduct disorder
  • Alcohol or drug dependence
  • Depression
  • Psychotic episodes.
Other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, have also been reported with some people.

Disrupted School Experience

Children with fetal alcohol syndrome are more likely than most to be suspended, expelled, or drop out of school. Difficulty getting along with other children, poor relationships with teachers, and truancy are some of the reasons that lead to their removal from the school setting. Many children with these fetal alcohol syndrome effects remain in school, but have negative experiences because of their behavioral challenges.

Trouble With the Law

Teenagers and adults with fetal alcohol syndrome are more likely than those without the condition to have interactions with police, authorities, or the judicial system. Difficulty controlling anger and frustration, combined with problems understanding the motives of others, result in many individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome being involved in violent or explosive situations. People with the disorder can be easy to persuade and manipulate, which can lead to their taking part in illegal acts without being aware of it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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