Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB, December 1996

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WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAAlcohol plays a major role in society today. It is 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 defects. 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. Alcohol in the woman's bloodstream circulates to the fetus via the placenta. There, the 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 effects. Infants with FAS may have a weak sucking response and an...