How Do Autism And Anxiety intersecting?
Many children with autism have anxiety disorders. In fact, children with autism can be more prone to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder than their normal peers. But, sometimes the overlap in characteristics between the two disorders makes diagnosing obsessive-compulsive disorder extremely difficult. Some symptoms of this disorder include: resistance to normal routines, abnormal and strange behaviors, extreme worry about minor annoyances, repetitive behaviors, and extreme fear and/or dread of certain scenarios. This can cause significant disruption in the lives of these children.
Symptoms of autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder are similar, yet they can also be very different. In addition, many children with autism might display symptoms of both conditions at the same time. In some cases, the symptoms are so severe that they interfere with a child’s life to the point where they can no longer function normally in social settings.
However, there is hope for those children who exhibit symptoms of either autism spectrum disorder. Often times, these symptoms can be successfully treated. If you or a loved one are experiencing any or all of the above mentioned symptoms, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The earlier an anxiety problem is detected, the better the results will be.
What are some treatment options available for autism spectrum disorders? There are some medications that work well for children who exhibit symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorders or autism spectrum disorder. One type of medication is well known and fairly effective – antidepressants. In fact, the SSRI antidepressants have been proven to effectively treat various anxiety disorders. Some researchers prefer a newer class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
Children sometimes do not respond well to the typical medications. Some researchers are currently looking at new approaches to treating autism and anxiety disorders. For example, they are studying the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This technique has shown promise in treating some of the more severe types of autism disorders. TMS works by stimulating specific brain areas with the goal of reducing brain activity.
For those children who are diagnosed with either autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome, there are treatments that can improve their symptoms. Often times, improving sensory sensitivities can help alleviate the symptoms of both autism and Asperger’s syndrome. One promising area of research is the use of phototherapy. Although this therapy has not been completely accepted by the FDA, some medical professionals believe that it can be helpful for many children with autism and other forms of the disorder.
Children with autism and other types of anxiety disorders often suffer from severe headaches, eye pain, sleep problems and sensory sensitivities to specific sounds. A unique method called pulsed light and sound therapy is gaining popularity for treating these symptoms. Pulsed sound has been found to have a calming effect on the visual system, and many patients find that symptoms decrease when sound is introduced into the environment. Some children also benefit from white noise machines, although these methods may not be as effective for those with serious symptoms.
The good news about autism spectrum symptoms is that most children grow out of them as they get older. However, experts agree that it is always a good idea to take steps to make social situations easier for autistic individuals. Many autistic individuals suffer from social isolation, which can lead to a decreased quality of life. When social situations become difficult due to sensory issues, a child with autism may feel anxious and lose interest in participating in such activities. Researchers are researching new ways to make social situations easier for autistic individuals, and there may be some benefit in the future.