If you are a parent of an autistic child, you might want to check into alternative treatments. If there is any chance of success or improvement in your child's ability to communicate better or to have better social skills there is no harm in giving it a try.
One alternative treatment is the use of nalrexone. Nalrexone has had a few reports of the positive change it has made in some autistic patients. Remember there are levels of autism and the results for one child will be just about as individualized as the disorder.
Nalrexone blocks the actions of the endogenous opioids which are like the endorphins that give pleasure to the brain. Research has shown that some autistic children have a high concentration of these endorphins in their brain. The improvements noted by observers of children with autism on nalrexone have included increased eye contact, better social skills, and reduction of clumsy behavior that could lead to self-injury.
When trying to use behavior altering drugs on an autistic child, you really have to look at the side effects associated with the medication.
The side effects sometimes outweigh the benefits. The autistic child is wired differently than most patients. The child may need higher dosages of medication that can cause dramatic changes in their liver functions or other vital organs. The medications may have to be monitored and the dosages changed to get the desired behavior changes. More blood and lab work will have to be done to make sure that the medications are not damaging any other tissue.
The opposite might be true. People with autism have a more sensitive nervous system than most people. A lower dosage might be required, where a high dosage would overload the nervous system and have severe emotional and physical consequences. A good indicator that your child has to high of a dose of medication is that he or she will get up earlier in the morning. If this happens consult with your doctor and reduce the dosage.
Another treatment that may be unconventional is the use of acupuncture.
Even those skilled in this Chinese treatment state that autism is non-curable. They do say that when they have treated autistic children with acupuncture, the parents report slight improvement. The acupuncturists theorize that the benefit comes from the neurons that the needles stimulate in the brain. There have been no research regarding acupuncture and autism and the only reports have been the ones from parents. Again, most parents are looking for anything that helps and sometimes the improvements are real and sometimes they are just manifestations of false hope.
As with any new treatment, you should consult with your doctor or your team of professionals that are already assembled to help your child through treatment. Trying alternative methods and medicines alone can set up both you and your child for failure.
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