Some of the medical conditions in people with autism can be treated with medicine. This medical management of autism can improve their health and quality of life.
A clinical approach for autism includes the confirmation of autism diagnosis and the intensity level of core behavioural symptoms. The behavioural symptoms need several treatment options, including therapies that include occupational therapy. This therapy improves fine motor skills, self-help abilities, and also treat various sensory issues (touch, vision, noise).
Gastrointestinal conditions, epilepsy and sleep problems occur more frequently in children with autism. Medical management for autism is a symptomatic approach aimed at treating the underlying core symptoms. Several medicines benefit children on the autism spectrum when other options fail. They do not treat autism completely, but offer relief from recurring symptoms.
There are medications for treating antipsychotic conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and also antidepressants and anti-psychotic conditions. They do benefit the children but fail to treat the developmental syndrome of autism.
Antidepressant and Anxiety Medication
Children with autism are challenged by anxiety or obsessive behaviours. These behaviours include the impulse to evade or run away from new situations, the fear of separation, and obsessive/neurotic behaviour that can cause a huge problem in their daily life. Anxiety in children is similar to ‘black-and-white’ thinking that can trigger self-injury, explosive temper and violent behaviours. They also develop depression, which may worsen if not treated with the right medication prescribed by a physician.
For antidepressant and anxiety symptoms, the prescribed medications are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that include Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine, and Sertraline. These medications have been approved for children with autism. They help in easing obsessive thought, anxiety, and compulsive behaviours. Parents must closely monitor signs of side effects.
Medications like Risperdal or Aripiprazole are approved as the best way to manage bad temper. The doctors also prescribe these atypical anti-psychotics drugs to improve aggression and mood swings in children with autism. These antipsychotics are also beneficial in improving anxiety.
Along with potential benefits it also comes with the risk of side effects which include a threat of developing diabetes and weight gain among others. Blood sugar and weight must be regularly monitored in children consuming these medicines.
Thus, medical management of autism may benefit children with autism. The medicine not only treats a few autism traits, but also offers relief from common recurring symptoms. Parents need to decide which medications would be beneficial for a child’s life. Appropriate medications allow children to move forward in their lives.