Diagnosis and Management of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in the Contact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Guide for Primary Health Care Practitioners in Manitoba

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Wittick, Heather
Hanlon-Dearmon, Ana
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to the broad range of effects that occur with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and is the leading cause of developmental delay worldwide. FASD has a high comorbidity rate with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) but is believed to be frequently missed in diagnosis, leading to sub-optimal management and differing prognosis for individuals who have ADHD with versus without FASD. The purpose of this document is to raise awareness for PAE in all populations, and provide a diagnostic and management approach for ADHD with FASD for primary health care practitioners in Manitoba. Various academic databases were searched with combinations of the terms “fetal alcohol”, “attention deficit hyperactive disorder”, “epidemiology” and “intervention” for articles that were written in English and peer-reviewed. Relevant organization websites were also reviewed for information and resources. Early multi-modal intervention with collaboration of other professionals, such as pediatricians, psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and social workers, have shown improved prognosis for individuals with ADHD and FASD and their caregivers, compared to those who don’t receive appropriate supports. Community, behavioural and academic support, and appropriate pharmaceuticals (e.g. psychostimulants) are examples of beneficial supports. Accurate diagnosis and management results in increased life skills, academic skills, likelihood of employment, and mitigates other comorbidities including caregiver burnout, learning disabilities and incarceration for individuals with ADHD and FASD.
ADHD, FASD, Primary Care