WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAAlcohol plays a
major role in society today.
constantly being .
in our minds through advertisements, whether its
commercials or billboards, holidays, or even just at the popular social scene.
Alcohol is consumed for many purposes, such as celebrations, to increase romance,
out of boredom, or a way to relax.
Alcohol is a drug that is depended upon by the
majority of our society.
Nonetheless, alcohol has very damaging effects, not only
does it cause
self-inflicted diseases resembling alcoholism or cirrhosis of the
liver, but it harms unborn fetuses as well.
Many women drink alcohol when they do
not even know that they are pregnant yet.
Alcohol can cause disorders such as
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, FAS, is a congenital disorder which is characterized
by a variety of physical and behavioral traits that result from maternal alcohol
consumption during pregnancy.
The term Fetal Alcohol Effects, FAE, indicates that
alcohol is being considered as one of the possible causes of a patient's birth
In other words, FAE is a less severe form of FAS.
Both FAS and FAE are
the results of the use of teratogens, which are nongenetic influences that can
potentially complicate fetal development.(Harris, p.85)
FAS is due to the mother's consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.
in the woman's bloodstream circulates to the fetus via the placenta.
alcohol intrudes with the ability of the fetus to receive a sufficient amount of
oxygen and nourishment for normal development in the brain and other body organs.
The critical time for alcohol teratogenicity is around the time of conception.
Effects of FAS/FAE
Although alcohol is the only cause of FAS, there are unfortunately numerous
Infants with FAS may have a weak sucking response and an irregular
sucking pattern early in life.
Some doctors describe them as distracted and
fatigued when sucking.
Withdrawal symptoms such as prolonged twitching,
jitteriness, sweating, and hyperactivity have also been reported in infants
exhibited to alcohol before birth. (Timberlake and Birch, p.1)
Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the leading known causes of mental
retardation in the United
Mental retardation is usually mild to moderate,
but occasionally it is severe.
Central nervous system handicaps are also present
in children with FAS.
A small brain, learning disabilities, short attention span,
hyperactivity in childhood, and poor body, hand, and finger coordination are
examples of CNS handicaps.(NIAAA, p.1)
Mental handicaps and hyperactivity are
probably the most debilitating aspects of FAS.(Streissguth, p.1)