Feb. 05.

How to Treat Aggression Among the Autistic Population

There are significant deficits seen within the Autistic Disorder, such social deficits, sensory deficits, perceptual deficits, and communication deficits (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Individuals with autism will characterize inappropriate social interaction with others or inappropriate play. They also demonstrate atypical body movement, such as body rocking, hand flapping, covering their ears or eyes. Many individuals will autism have challenging behaviors, such as self injurious, aggression towards others, and outbursts (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).

Aggression is common and occurs higher with individuals who have autism compared to other developmental disabilities (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). It has been speculated that aggression among the population with autism occurs due to frustration from social difficulties, missed cues and the inability to communicate (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).  It has been reported that 68 percent of individual with autism will experience aggression at some point in their lives (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).   Parental stress comes from challenged behavior and aggression in children with autism (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).  Aggression affects the daily lives of individuals with autism and invokes stress on the family and caregivers (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).  Individuals with autism who exhibit extreme aggression towards themselves and others are likely to be hospitalized (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).  In addition, they are more than likely to be place in a residential setting. Ironically, it can also limit their access to residential living, respite, recreation activities, hinder their learning and their interpersonal skills with others, and treatment programs, (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). There may experience social isolation, depression, and become stigmatized by others (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).

Families are more than likely to be the sole caretakers of their child with autism and how they handle the aggression can significantly exacerbate the problem (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). A study was conducted on aggression in individuals with autism and the impact it had on their families; it revealed that the families experience property destruction, physical harm, safely concerns for siblings, isolated from others, lack of respite care, and the lack of funding in providing services to these families(Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). Some families reported in the study that there were problems in receiving treatment or schooling for their family member with autism because of their aggressive behavior. Many were pleased with the multidisciplinary support which includes education, medical and behavioral management from an array of professionals (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). However, they were somewhat disappointed in some professionals’ lack of knowledge in helping to resolve or decrease aggression in their children with autism and could not provide answers for them (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). Moreover, these parents also reported in the study that the professionals were not sympathetic to their struggles and ignored their concerns about their children aggression. because there were appearing as typical to them (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). Many parents reported that they had few lifetime resources to help them with their children with autism, such a crisis care, quality respite care, and safe alternative setting for living, etc (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).

The medical community advocates the use of pharmaceutical approaches to managing aggressive behaviors in individuals with ASD, such as antipsychotic risperidone (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). The medical community reported in literature that risperidone showed some positive results in decreasing aggression in the population with autism(Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013).

Other medications used in among those with autism are a2-adrenergic agonists aslproate, olanzapine, atomoxetine seem very promising with professionals in the medical field in help those with autism. A report revealed that within one year, about 83 % of children with autism were prescribed by their doctors at least one drugs out of the 125 drugs (Hughes, 2008). The mostly prescribed drugs were anticonvulsants, anxiolytic/sedative/ hypnotics, hypotensives, stimulants antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and tranquilizers/ antipsychotics (Hughes, 2008). In a given year, about 70% of children with autism at the age of 8 received psychoactive medicine (Hughes, 2008). Parent should be very cautious when using medicine. They can cause possible brain damaged and other health problems. Medication should be the last resort. Many of the behavior can be addressed thought alternative means and behavioral therapy.

Parents and clinicians preferred to use behavioral intervention  rather than antipsychotic medications (Hodgetts, Nicholas & Zwaigenbaum, 2013). There are concerns that antipsychotic medicine could have negative effects on the developing brain in child with autism with long-term usage ( Rimland, 1987& 1988 & 1997).

Parents of children with autism often will seek alternative medicine to help with their children aggression and challenging behaviors. Alternative professional speculate that autism is more of metabolic problem (Rimland, 1987 & 1988 & 1997). The leaky gut or gut hyperpermeability is often seen in the autism population cause by various sources, such as Candida, heavy metal toxicity, etc (Rimland, 1987 & 1988 & 1997). Many individuals with autism have been found to have sensitivity to chemicals, food allergies or intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiency that contribute to their autistic symptoms or challenging behaviors (Rimland, 1987 & 1988 & 1997). Many individuals with autism are known to have intolerances to proteins called casein found in milk and gluten found in wheat or other in grains (Knivsberg, Wiig, et al 1990).  They are also sensitive to other foods that cause the same problem. These proteins do not break down to the smallest unit and leak out of the gut to travel to the brain region inducing brain allergies or the immune system will identify them as foreign and will elicit an antigen response that cause an allergic reaction (McCann et al, 2007). Multitudes of individuals with autism have an impaired immune and digestive system that keep them from completely digesting certain foods that they are sensitive to or show intolerance (Adams, 2013). The symptoms can varies such as ‘drunk’ or ‘high’ behaviors, rashes on the body, rages, headaches, aggression, etc. (Rimland, 1988). Additives that are used in foods are known to cause hyperactivity in children (McCann et al, 2007).  Artificial colors and flavors are also known to cause challenging behaviors, hyperactivity and aggression among the autism population who are sensitive (Adams, 2013). Therefore, avoiding the foods are very vital in treating behavioral problems, learning difficulties, allergies, etc.

Parents and professional test their children by eliminating certain foods from their diet through dietary log and elimination diets (Adams, 2013).Elimination diets involve taking out the most commonly known food that causes allergies for a few weeks and then reintroducing them (Adams, 2013). Elimination diet can be done with multiple or single foods items IgE or IgG testing help to determine allergies or sensitivities in the blood. The IgE is for immediate allergy reaction response and the IgG is for the delayed response of an allergy reaction (Adams, 2013). The skin testing is done to help determine immediate immune response (Adams, 2013). Testing the blood with the IgE and the IgG methods are not always accuracy or very limited in revealing allergies or sensitivities, despite clinical symptoms (Adams, 2013). Some professional may use the scratch test for immediately immune response; however, this test is also very limited.

Biomedical treatments include the implementation of the gluten / casein free diet and other dietary plans based the needs of the individual with autism. The implementation of probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamin and mineral, melatonin, antifungal, essential fatty acids, improve diet, many more (Adams, 2013). A study done by Autism Institute Research(ARI) surveyed parents about their success or improvement with biomedical treatments. Over half reported that they had have success with this kind of treatment (Adams, 2013).

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By Angela Williamson | Posted in Manifesting goals | Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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