Healthy Kids: Alcohol and Pregnancy

First drink and your brain:
  • Young people abuse alcohol more than any other substance.
  • US: 11-20 y.o. consume 11% of all alcohol.
  • By 15 – 35% of teens have had a drink.
  • By 18 – 65% of teens have had a drink.
  • 90% consume alcohol by binge drinking.
Attraction of alcohol lies in enduring cellular changes:
  • Attraction =perceived, euphoric ‘high’ that it induces.
  • Activates neurons in the dopamine pathways.
  • Dopamine = goal-oriented and reward-based behaviors.
  • Memory registers and stores the perceived benefits of alcohol from the very first time a person drinks.
Devastating impacts of fetal alcohol syndrome:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Delinquency
  • Diminished learning capacity
3 Main kinds of behavioral problems with FASD:
  • Internalizing Behaviors:  anxiety, withdrawal, depression
  • Externalizing Behaviors:  aggression or delinquency
  • Other:  social skills, thought processing and attention.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
  • Tragic result of alcohol use in pregnancy.
  • Causes birth defects and neurodevelopmental problems.
  • Recommendation:  no alcohol use during pregnancy.
  • Support is needed for these children.

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