Autism Treatment

Autism Treatment typically requires a combination of therapies to successfully manage behavioural and social interactions of the autistic patient. Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD will most often be diagnosed when the patient is young, thus when considering treatment, parents, caregivers and doctors are very cautious having concerns about the safety of the medication prescribed and possible side effects. Patients are found to have much greater success in managing Autism Spectrum Disorder when there is early identification of Autistic symptoms and signs. Early intervention is key combined with having a supportive, patient and flexible family network. Many patients with autism have other medical conditions that coincide including sleep disturbances, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) issues. By addressing all the symptoms that are being experienced by the autistic patient., learning, attention span and all other related behaviours improve.
Medications for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder

SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been found to help autistic patients with an improvement in mood, alleviating depression and obsessive compulsive behaviours that typically present themselves with Autism.  

  • citalopram
  • fluoxetine
  • sertraline

Typical side effects include:

  • Increased Weight
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation

Antipsychotic medicines
Antipsychotic medicines are helpful in treating autistic patients., as they work by altering the effects of chemicals in the brain. They have been found to reduce problem behaviours  that coincide with Autism.

  • aloperidol
  • risperidone
  • thioridazine

Typical side effects include:

  • Increased Weight
  • Sleepiness
  • Tremors/ Shakes

Other Medications prescribed to the Autistic patient:

  • Clonidine (Kapvay)
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv)

These medicines are prescribed to children with autism who exhibit aggressive / impulsive behaviours. 

Autism and the symptoms that coincide with the condition, benefit from a varied selection of treatments. This list is by no means the only treatments and therapies available to the autistic patient. 

  • Early intervention
  • Behavioural management
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Educational strategies
  • Joint attention therapy
  • Nutritional
  • Occupational
  • Parent-mediated
  • Physical therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Speech-language therapy

Medical Cannabis Treatment for Autism

Higher THC levels redirect the neurons in a way that is more manageable for the Autistic. CBD derived from cannabis regulates emotional states and focus. It is also neuroprotective against brain degradation. CBD is an effective treatment in mood regulation, decreasing anxiety, rage and hostility that occurs in Autism.

Statistics in Australia : Population with Autism

  • 1 in every 100 people in Australia suffer from Autism
  • 230,000 people in Australia suffer with Autism
  • Autism is 4x more common in boys, than in girls
Autism and cannabis as a treatment

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a developmental disability that travels a lifelong path with the patient. Autism causes the patient great difficulty both as a child and as an adult with social interaction, communication and behaviour. Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ASD (for short).

As the symptoms associated with Autism are seen very early in a child’s development., the medical field considers it to be a developmental disorder. Spectrum refers to the wide range of signs and symptoms associated with ASD. Some autistic patients do not suffer extreme symptoms. On the other hand their are those who experience a whole range of symptoms and severity. ASD patients are ordinarily classed with regards to how well they are functioning in their world. The child who doesn’t speak at all – would be considered a low functioning ASD patient, whereas there are patients that have rather high levels of intelligence and for the most part have normal speech. This patient would be considered high functioning. Going from zero verbal communication to the ability to communicate effectively, one can comprehend the large difference between the two. Autism therefore can not be treated by any one drug, or any one technique due to the fact that every patient will need something tailor made to their specific set of symptoms.

Diagnosing Childhood Autism versus Early Adulthood Autism

Children will ordinarily be exhibiting signs of autism (ASD) as early as preschool. A parent oftentimes will notice something strange, realising their child is not partaking in the typical behaviours of other children.  An example of this could be the lack of a returned / acknowledged smile or greeting to someone who has just initiated communication or a social interaction. The child may have poor language development or perhaps has little to no communicative movements typically used by children  i.e.) pointing and waving.  There are those children with autism who do not get diagnosed in the early years or before they started school. Teachers much more aware of the signs and symptoms of Autism may start to notice a child in their class having great difficulty where others do not. Parents will be notified and asked to visit a specialist in the field. Though it is less common, some autistic patients are diagnosed in their teen years or in early adulthood. To have successfully passed through the cracks without anyone being made aware of their condition, these individuals are representative of the high functioning ASD patient. Their symptoms will not be very severe yet social, communication and behavioural issues are still present and cause the patient difficulty.

Causes of Autism

It is said that Autism is most often genetically passed on. The chances of a child being born with Autism increases when one or both parents are aged. It is also increased when pregnant mother is exposed to toxins, drinks or smokes during pregnancy. It is also caused by abnormalities in the brain area that interprets sensory input.

Symptoms of Autism

Symptoms of autism usually appear within the first 3 years of life. The following is a list of autistic traits typically found in the ASD patient.

 For children:

  • Difficulty developing non-verbal communication, skills, body language and facial expressions
  • Difficulty establishing friendships with kids of similar age
  • No interest in sharing or enjoying the company of another
  • No empathy. Difficulty understanding what another is feeling ie) Pain or Sorrow.
  • Delayed speech – 40% patients never speak
  • Difficulty initiating a conversation with someone
  • Inability to continue a conversation with someone
  • Repetition of certain words
  • Difficulty understanding what their listener has perceived from the conversation
  • Heightened sensory sensitivity
  • Learning difficulties

For adults:

  • Exhibits unusual behaviour
  • Heightened sensitivity to sounds / sensory sensitivity
  • Rigid routine to keep life in balance
  • Unusually intense focused interests
  • Hand flapping / Spinning
  • Repetitive use of objects
  • Obsessive Compulsive
  • Unusual sensory interest
  • Learning difficulties

Recent News: (From respected News and Media sources)

  • Autism - Cannabis Treatment Helps Boy Speak

Medical Cannabis Helps Autistic Boy Speak First Words

June 16th, 2015|Comments Off

Published by Yahoo News telling the story of an Autistic boy, Kalel Santiago, 9, who spoke […]

  • Autism and Medical Cannabis - The Ultimate Remedy

Can medical cannabis improve autism?

June 16th, 2015|Comments Off

The Independent Reports a Story regarding an Autistic Boy and his success being treated with […]

Clinical Studies / References:

Review references and clinical studies pertaining to the use of medical cannabis in treating Autism.