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Does Alcohol Make Autism Worse

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The Domains Of Alcohol

Fast Facts About Autism (World Autism Awareness Day)

Although nearly every type of Axis I and II disorder in both DSM IV TR and ICD 10 Classifications, as well as most disorders from the 0-3 coding manual can be expressed by individuals with effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, there have been efforts to better characterize the common clinical features associated with ARND. While neurodevelopmental deficits may exist in a range of severity, all cases of individuals with FAS have some degree of ARND. The following neurodevelopmental domains have been found to be disrupted in clinical psychiatric cases of both FAS and ARND . As indicated in the diagram, prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to mood dysregulation and autonomic arousal, cognitive and executive dysfunctions, language and social skills deficits, and multi-sensory functional and perceptual deficits. Some individuals can have one or more domains of impairment, as indicated by the overlapping areas in the Venn diagram.

Figure 1.

Mood dysregulation and/or Autonomic Arousal:

As young children, the sensory integration issues involving sensitivity to sounds, environmental noise, lights, fans, easily irritated by voices, loud music, smells, tastes, even touch continue, and are often misunderstood as deliberate defiance.

Foods That Can Make Autism Worse

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder , is diagnosed in 1 in 54 children, according to the CDC. The condition is associated with an array of challenges, including abnormal social skills, developmental delays, communication problems, and behavioral issues.

According to research, over 70% of children with autism have at least one co-existing physical or mental health condition, and 40% have two or more of them. Among children with autism:

  • 30-61% have ADHD
  • Over 50% have chronic sleep problems
  • 32% are overweight
  • 16% are obese

In addition, kids with autism are 8 times more likely to have gastrointestinal issues compared to those who dont have the condition. And among adults with ASD, 26% have depression and 4-35% have schizophrenia .

All of these challenges and symptoms can range from mild to severe. And food can have an impact on severity.

Is Alcohol A Coping Mechanism For The Anxiety Of Social Situations

For a long time, doctors believed that having an ASD was actually protective against alcohol addiction because many people who abuse alcohol do so to interact with the outside world, including building social networks.1

Their engagement in social behaviors may make it easier to fit in when they are drinking. They may even appear more normal in behavior to the outside world, which they may think allows them to maintain better relationships and even succeed more in their careers.3 However, this can make diagnosing and treating autism and alcohol use disorder more difficult.

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Are Substance Use Disorders A Symptom Of Autism

Substance use disorders arent usually a symptom of autism. Those with autism are more likely to experience other symptoms, which include:

poor social functioning
repetitive behaviors

Sometimes, symptoms can resemble other conditions, such as bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It can be difficult to sort these conditions from the issues caused by autism and alcohol.4

Why Substance Use Makes Depression And Anxiety Worse

3 Charts

Self-medicating with recreational drugs and alcohol works temporarily to alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression because they affect the same brain regions that the disorders do. But the result is that teens feel even worse when not using. Thats one reason substance use is a risk factor for suicide in kids with depression, Dr. Taskiran notes.

Another negative effect of substance use is that it undermines treatment. First, it diminishes a teenagers engagement in therapy, and hence its effectiveness. Second, if she is taking prescription medication, it may lower the effectiveness of that medication. The drugs and the medications target the same areas of the brain, explains Dr. Taskiran. When meds have to compete with drugs or alcohol, they are less effective. Also, its not uncommon with kids who are using substances to be noncompliant with their meds.

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Newest Study Joke: Drinking While Pregnant Causes Autism

Maybe we can write a play, a murder mystery about autism, and call it “Alcohol and Old Sperm.”As this study was flying around the lists last night, most people concurred these researchers have it backwards. Drinking doesn’t cause autism. But autism can cause drinking.

Read about the study HERE.Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.

Posted by Age of Autism on March 23, 2008 at 07:08 AM in Current Affairs, Kim Rossi, Science|Permalink |

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Were Too Honest For Our Own Good

You would think that being truthful was something you would want to promote but, in the interest of sparing someones feelings, apparently, were expected to lie from time to time and, whats more, if you dont then youre the jerk!

Known as a white lie, this is something many autistic people have struggled with, due to our literal way of thinking. However, recent studies into autistic people and lying have suggested that its not quite as simple as we wont lie because we cant. Instead, reports fromQueens University have found that, when autistic people do speak out of turn, its because we see the make-believe as mean and often believe that it will be less upsetting, to tell the truth .

Given the reasoning behind this, I think it would do more harm than good to try and change this behaviour in autistic people. So, if you ask us a question you dont like the answer to, just remember that this is an opinion an opinion which, though indisputable in our eyes, is not necessarily fact.

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Its not always easy. The effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder can look like the so-called warning signs of regular drug use, such as disregard for others, a drop in school performance, speech difficulties, or emotional outbursts and rapid mood swings.

It can be difficult to decide whether these are simply part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, or a sign of problems with alcohol or other drugs. Your best guide, as a parent, is probably your own knowledge of your child and your gut feeling.

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Clinical Development And Diagnoses

Leo Kannerearly infantile autism

The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities. Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders. It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.

Kanner’s reuse of autism led to decades of confused terminology like infantile schizophrenia, and child psychiatry’s focus on maternal deprivation led to misconceptions of autism as an infant’s response to “refrigerator mothers“. Starting in the late 1960s autism was established as a separate syndrome.

What Is Alcoholic Cirrhosis

Alcoholic cirrhosis is the most serious alcohol-induced liver disease where scar tissue overwhelmingly replaces healthy liver tissue. Blood flow and other critical components of healthy liver function are impaired.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcoholic cirrhosis impacts 10-15% of people with alcoholism.

Symptoms of Alcoholic Cirrhosis

Many people still do not realize they have liver issues, even though cirrhosis has distinguishable symptoms and can show on lab tests and radiographic scans.

All of the symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis often occur since the diseases happen in progression.

Distinct Symptoms of Alcoholic Cirrhosis

  • Redness of the palms
  • Shorting of the muscles in the fingers
  • White nails
  • Death

Prognosis for Alcoholic Cirrhosis

The 5year survival rate for people with cirrhosis who stop drinking is ~90%. However, for late-stage cirrhosis, the rate drops to only 60% for those who stop drinking and 35% for those who do not.

Cirrhosis is the most serious consequence of alcoholism for the liver, but other organs will also start to suffer damage from this level of drinking. .

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Does Alcohol Abuse Cause Autism

No. Some people believe that drinking while youre pregnant can lead to autism, but this is not factual. While maternal alcohol abuse does have negative impacts for a developing baby, autism is not one of the risks.

However, women who drink while pregnant do risk having a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Some of the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome and ASD can overlap. Both conditions can lead to sensory issues and decision-making problems, but the two conditions do not appear to be related. While the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome may initially look like ASD, these symptoms manifest differently, especially as people age.

While alcohol abuse during pregnancy is not known to increase the babys risk for being born with autism spectrum disorder, researchers have found other risk factors that can increase a persons chance of ASD.

Risk factors for developing autism spectrum disorder include:

  • genetic factors
  • being born to a mother of an advanced age
  • taking certain drugs during pregnancy, such as valproic acid or thalidomide
  • having a sibling with ASD
  • chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome

There have been major improvements in the study of ASD. We now have effective ways to treat this condition, especially with early intervention therapy. While having autism spectrum disorder can be challenging, it is possible to create a meaningful life without having to rely on alcohol.

What Is It About Autism And Food

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What is it about autism and food? It seems to provide our son with such comfort. But his narrow focus becomes an obsession that leads to meltdowns.

This weeks Got Questions? answer comes from psychologist Emily Kuschner, of The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. With the support of an Autism Speaks research grant, Dr. Kuschner is developing and testing a cognitive behavioral treatment program that addresses the complex reasons behind narrow food choices in many individuals with autism.

Research has backed up what youve experienced firsthand. Food overlaps with many aspects of life that challenge the coping skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder . These can include extreme sensitivity to change and sensory stimuli, as well as an intense focus on details.

For instance, many children and adults on the spectrum are extremely sensitive to not just flavor, but also the color, smell and texture of foods. Many also have strong preferences for a narrow selection of foods. Some even feel compelled to have certain foods in the same place on the plate or to use the same plate at each meal.

Of course, we all have food preferences and most of us find food comforting. However, these natural tendencies can become exaggerated for a person with ASD. In other words, your sons focus on food like his other special interests may be particularly intense.

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Do People With Asd Have More Issues With Substance Use Disorders

Doctors know that an estimated 29.5 million people in the United States struggle with substance abuse, according to an article in the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.1 Of those, an estimated 23 percent have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .1

However, doctors dont know exactly how many people with autism also struggle with substance use disorders. They do have some estimates that may range anywhere from 0.7% all the way up to 36%.1 One study suggested the range is anywhere from 11% to 29% percent over a persons lifetime.5

The more sociable, intelligent, or confident a person with an ASD is, the more they might struggle with their autism and alcohol use.1 Those who are very socially withdrawn are less likely to experience an alcohol issue. Those who are less social will show a weaker link between their autism and alcohol addiction.

Can Autism Be Caused By Meth Or Second

No. There is no link between methamphetamine use or methamphetamine smoke and ASD.However, babies exposed to meth in the womb are nearly three times more likely to have cognitive problems . Also, children exposed to meth smoke are usually in dangerous living situations including witnessing or experiencing physical abuse. .

Consequences of Exposure to Meth in the Womb and During Childhood

Noticed At Birth
Deficits in attention, memory and motivation Anxious/depressed symptoms Aggression

Reading this may be difficult if youve used meth or been around meth smoke while pregnant, but you still have a choice to get help now. Its not too late! You and your baby deserve peace and happiness.

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Recognizing A Dual Diagnosis

It can be difficult to identify a dual diagnosis. It takes time to tease out what might be a mental health disorder and what might be a drug or alcohol problem. The signs and symptoms also vary depending upon both the mental health problem and the type of substance being abused, whether its alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications. For example, the signs of depression and marijuana abuse could look very different from the signs of schizophrenia and alcohol abuse. However, there are some general warning signs that you may have a co-occurring disorder:

  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, to control pain or the intensity of your moods, to face situations that frighten you, or to stay focused on tasks?
  • Have you noticed a relationship between your substance use and your mental health? For example, do you get depressed when you drink? Or drink when youre feeling anxious or plagued by unpleasant memories?
  • Has someone in your family grappled with either a mental disorder or alcohol or drug abuse?
  • Do you feel depressed, anxious, or otherwise out of balance even when youre sober?
  • Have you previously been treated for either your addiction or your mental health problem? Did the substance abuse treatment fail because of complications from your mental health issue or vice versa?

Dual diagnosis and denial

Prevalence Of Alcohol Abuse And Autism

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One study showed that the risk of substance abuse in people with ASD is double that of people without ASD. Another study found that 35% percent of individuals with six or more autistic traits were alcohol-dependent, compared to 20% of individuals with no autistic traits. However, the risk may depend on how severe someones ASD is. Doctors are not sure which traits in ASD may make someone more likely to struggle with substance use, and which traits may make them less likely to use substances like alcohol. Therefore, more research is needed on the topic.

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Should I Prevent My Child From Using Drugs

For some parents or carers, no may seem like the most sensible message. Other parents assume they cant or shouldn’t prevent experimentation with forbidden activities and they therefore aim to reduce the chance of harm to the young person.

Forbidding use can sometimes have the opposite effect of what is intended. It may be more constructive to set clear limits for example, one can of beer at a party rather than saying no alcohol.

Carrying out any plan whether it involves saying no to drugs or using them safely may be difficult if a young person has problems with judging a social situation, interacting and behaving appropriately, anticipating problems, and following through a plan of action.

It may be best to focus on controlling exposure to drugs and alcohol. This means setting clear limits and keeping some control over the young persons social environment. It may help to discuss this with a professional who understands both Autism Spectrum Disorder and substance abuse or, if not available, someone with expertise in youth substance abuse, and make sure they understand the issues relating to your child’s Autism Spectrum Disorder. Above all, you should, as a family, choose the approach that suits your own style, values and circumstances.

Signs And Symptoms Of Substance Abuse

Abused substances include prescription medications , recreational or street drugs , and alcohol . A substance abuse problem is not defined by what drug you use or the type of alcohol you drink, though. Rather, it comes down to the effects your drug or alcohol use has on your life and relationships. In short, if your drinking or drug use is causing problems in your life, you have a substance abuse problem.

To help you spot the signs of a substance abuse problem, answering the following questions may help. The more yes answers you provide, the more likely your drinking or drug use has become a problem.

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking or drug use?
  • Do you need to use more and more drugs or alcohol to attain the same effects on your mood or outlook?
  • Have you tried to cut back, but couldnt?
  • Do you lie about how much or how often you drink or use drugs?
  • Are you going through prescription medication at a faster-than-expected rate?
  • Have your friends or family members expressed concern about your alcohol or drug use?
  • Do you ever feel bad, guilty, or ashamed about your drinking or drug use?
  • Have you done or said things while drunk or high that you later regretted?
  • Has your alcohol or drug use caused problems at work, school, or in your relationships?
  • Has your alcohol or drug use gotten you into trouble with the law?

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