If you’ve heard of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, you might not expect to find out that some of your favorite friends and celebrities with fetal alcohol syndrome may be coping just fine without anyone knowing of their FAS diagnosis. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a group of congenital disabilities that occur when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASDs) contain a wide variety of mental health conditions, including partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, alcohol-related congenital disabilities, and neurobehavioral disorder linked with prenatal alcohol exposure. Fetal alcohol syndrome is considered the most severe fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASDs) Symptoms
There are a variety of medical issues that may result from fetal alcohol syndrome, including several common or mild symptoms. Here are some of the most common or mild signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
- kidney, heart, and bone problems
- trouble with learning, memory, and concentration
- coordination problems
- hyperactivity with a short attention span
- infant sleep disorders
More severe signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can include:
- an abnormally small head, combined with an underwhelming height and weight
- a smooth ridge between upper lips and noses
- a skinny upper lip
- small and wide-set eyes, or any other abnormal facial features
- poor vision or hearing
- delayed development and problems with speech, thinking, movement, and social skills
- learning and intellect issues as well as mental retardation.
As the symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can vary drastically, not everyone will be affected in the same way by FAS.
Celebrities with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
1. Bernie Sanders
While it has never been officially disclosed by presidential running mate and politician, Bernie Sanders, or confirmed by any member of his team that he himself was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the rumor was spread at an early point into Bernie’s career and has seemed to stick without any opposition from the Sanders party since.
Many people believe the rumors of Bernie’s FAS to be true since they have never been strongly refuted by the Sanders’ campaign. In addition to this, Bernie Sanders and his staff have been advocating heavily for people with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as part of his campaigns from very early on. While we cannot 100% confirm Bernie Sanders has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, his activism for fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASDs) further strengthens what doesn’t appear to be baseless rumor about Bernie’s FAS.
He also reportedly has “gout, hernias, diverticulitis, and a cyst on his vocal cord, which can all be symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome”. Much of the public believes Bernie to have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because of an apparent perceived lack of impulse control from the politician, as well as his “prickly eyes” and “poor social cues”, which can all be indications of someone who has FAS. Although she’s not very vocal about it, actor and superstar Reese Witherspoon is also reportedly a child of alcoholism, resulting in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at birth.
2. Jim Carrey
One of the more vocal celebrities about having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is actor Jim Carrey. In 2018 he told the Hollywood Reporter, “My mom was addicted to pain medication. She was very sick in a lot of ways. She was lovely, too, but she was a child of alcoholics and she had issues.” Carrey confessed further to facing a lot of abandonment issues from his mother’s continued drug and alcohol use into his childhood.
While he emphasizes the fact that his mother was around as much as possible, she wasn’t very present due to her painkiller addiction. Allegedly, Jim Carrey has joint deformities, involuntary facial contortions, and uncontrollable sporadic seizures as a result of FAS, but despite these alleged negative consequences of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Carrey is still one of the most notable comedians of all time.
3. Daniel Radcliffe
Although he first waited until he turned 19 to fully disclose he struggles with side effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, actor Daniel Radcliffe is now perhaps the most vocal about the effects of FAS in the public eye. He revealed this to the Daily Mail, the popular British newspaper tabloid, at age 19 along with the news that he suffered from dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is a coordination disorder that made it difficult for the Harry Potter star to tie his shoes or write properly.
After falling behind and struggling a lot in school, Daniel has been very outspoken as an adult about his diagnosis and the symptoms that come with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He has had a lot of success raising awareness for FAS, arguing that it is way under-recognized compared to other learning disabilities such as ADHD and dyslexia. Even though FAS often goes unrecognized as a learning disability, Daniel reports to the public that “6 to 10 percent of all children show signs of dyspraxia”, a coordination disorder that results in the child of a pregnant mother that is consuming alcohol.
Daniel Radcliffe hasn’t stopped at simply raising awareness around the condition, but he even reaches out to others younger than him that share a FAS diagnosis and are facing the same struggles that he did as a result. “Do not let it stop you,” he tells a ten year old girl who has dyspraxia, “It has never held me back, and some of the smartest people I know are people who have learning disabilities.” Daniel is doing a great job as an activist for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, letting them know that their diagnosis does not define them, nor will it doom them.
4. Morgan Fawcett
It is hard to believe that Morgan Fawcett, a 19-year-old Tlingit flute player with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), has any disability. He has three full musical albums, a public speaking career, and a non-profit called One Heart Creations.
When Morgan was 15, he was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). He wants to help educate others about FASD, both Native Youth and people nationwide, in order to help them. Morgan has spoken at school assemblies, colleges, community colleges, hospitals, churches, and other locations in order to promote FASD awareness. In addition to providing flutes to at-risk youth and disadvantaged individuals, he has also established a flute program that has thus far provided over 650 Native flutes to the needy.
While they haven’t been as vocal about it, the following celebrities were also reportedly born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
5. Joaquin Phoenix
6. Randy Jackson
7. Reese Witherspoon
Can You Still Be Successful with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
After reading the list of extremely successful celebrities who were born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and still made it to the celebrity status they hold today, it should be clear that FAS does not guarantee failure for those born with it.
Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or similar spectrum disorders vary in the ways they are affected. The range of symptoms includes moderate to severe difficulties with memory, attention, perception, listening, and learning and communicating ability, all of which are related to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While some symptoms are very minor, the damage from FAS can be permanent and irreversible; however, like with any learning disabilities, there are many rehabilitative programs in place to help those affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome so that they can absolutely be successful despite this diagnosis they had no part in creating.
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Does Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Affect Intelligence?
According to the FAS Conference in Seattle in September of 1996, “86% of the individuals with FASDs have an IQ in the “normal” range and do not qualify for services for developmental disabilities but they nevertheless have impaired mental functioning caused by brain damage that is permanent and incurable.”
While Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, without a doubt, will impact a child’s life who is born with it, it’s important to remember that it does not mean someone with FAS is by any means doomed to be unintelligent. In fact, according to the Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology’s Fetal Alcohol research article titled, INTELLIGENCE AND FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS: A REVIEW, “some investigations have concluded that the intellectual functioning in individuals exposed to alcohol during pregnancy is of normal level, while other investigations have found that most individuals with FASD are not intellectually impaired.”
Furthermore, with proof from some of the most successful and perceivably intelligent celebrities with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, it is apparent that being born into FAS does not by any means guarantee failure. In fact, the outcome can be quite the opposite. For more information on Fetal Alcohol Syndromes, its causes, side effects, and treatments, refer to a more in-depth look at the diagnosis here.
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Trust the Experts
Addiction and mental health disorders can affect anyone. Believe it or not, there are many celebrities with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, too. If you or a loved one are currently living with one of these issues, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with this on your own. We are here to help.