Medical Intervention

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There are no medications that can cure ASDs or even treat the main symptoms. But there are medications that can help some people with related symptoms. For example, medication might help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, depression, or seizures. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of risperidone and aripripazole (antipsychotic drugs) to treat at certain ages children with ASDs who have severe tantrums, aggression, and cause self-injury.

To learn more about medications and ASDs go to National Institute of Mental Health autism website.

Research shows that many individuals with autism spectrum disorders have underlying medical issues that frequently go undiagnosed and can cause or exacerbate symptoms of autism.

These medical conditions include Fragile X, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, bowel disease, gastrointestinal/digestive disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food sensitivities, persistent viral and fungal infections, PANDAS, feeding disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, OCD, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, immune disorders, autoimmune disorders, heavy metal toxicity and neuroinflammation. Treating these underlying medical issues can greatly improve some of the behaviors and symptoms associated with autism.

Treatment options may include:

  • vitamin and mineral supplementation
  • immune system support
  • anti-inflammatories
  • neurofeedback
  • chelation/detoxification therapy
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • anti-fungal and anti-viral therapies
  • dietary intervention
  • methyl B-12 therapy

Patients should undergo diagnostic testing and consult with a licensed physician to develop an individualized treatment plan. 

NAA recommends finding a physician who will not ignore underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the symptoms and severity of autism.  There are a number of physicians in the U.S. who specialize in treating children and adults with autism.  Until recently, the Autism Research Institute (ARI) maintained a list of clinicians who attended DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) physician training seminars. While the list is not actively maintained at this time, you can click here to view an archive:  Clinician Listing

A new effort is now underway to educate, train and board certify physicians treating individuals with autism.  Please visit http://medmaps.org for information.

ACompementary and Alternative Treatments

To relieve the symptoms of ASDs, some parents and health care professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by the pediatrician. These types of treatments are known as complementary and alternative treatments (CAM). They might include special diets, chelation (a treatment to remove heavy metals like lead from the body), biologicals (e.g., secretin), or body-based systems (like deep pressure).[3]

These types of treatments are very controversial. Current research shows that as many as one third of parents of children with an ASD may have tried complementary or alternative medicine treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment.[4] Before starting such a treatment, check it out carefully, and talk to your child’s doctor.

To learn more about CAM therapies, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Get the FactsExternal Web Site Icon webpage.

Sources:

Medical Intervention. (2011). Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://nationalautismassociation.org/autism-treatment-2/medical-intervention/

Treatment. (2011). Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/treatment.html