What is the long-term outlook for someone with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)?

Over time, a number of secondary effects can result in people with FAS, particularly in those who are not treated for the condition in childhood. These are called secondary effects because they are not part of FAS itself. Instead, they come about as a result of having FAS, perhaps from a feeling of not living up to society’s expectations. These include:

  • Mental health problems.
  • Getting into trouble in school or with the law.
  • Confinement in jail, a mental-health facility or a substance abuse treatment center.
  • Acting out in sexually inappropriate ways.
  • Difficulty living on one’s own.
  • Unemployment or difficulty keeping a job.

Treatment as soon as possible in childhood can help avoid these possible outcomes later in life.

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