Fetal Exposure to Alcohol Linked to Mental Illness

Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Week
May 13, 1998

According to a study by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine, exposure to alcohol while in the womb increases the risk of developing a mental illness. Studying 25 adults who had been exposed to alcohol during their mothers' pregnancy, researchers found that 18 had received psychiatric treatment at some point in their lives. Fifteen of the subjects reported alcohol or drug dependence, 11 had experienced a major depressive episode and 10 reported a psychotic disorder.

Reports of anxiety disorders and eating disorders also were common in the group. "These results indicate that individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects manifested clinically significant mental illness as they matured," the authors wrote in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers added that the small sample size in this study necessitates further research into the link between fetal alcohol exposure and mental illness.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Manisses Communications Group

Source of Original Article
University of Washington Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit
More information on the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol
Psychiatric disorders are common in children with prenatal alcohol exposure 2002 study at UCLA
FAS Community Resource Center