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What Causes Irritability In Autism

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What Is Epilepsy What Are Seizures

Autism And Irritability| Purple Ella

Seizures are the result of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells. Common symptoms of a seizure include involuntary stiffening or jerking of muscles, confusion, loss of consciousness, and unusual thoughts or sensations.

Experiencing unpredictable seizures may be an indication of Epilepsy. This common neurological disorder may be diagnosed if the individual has at least two unprovoked seizures. The qualifier unprovoked means that the seizure is not caused by a known event like a head injury, medication reaction, or high fever.

Medical Conditions And Irritability

For symptoms caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal imbalance or diabetes, your doctor will recommend treatment that is appropriate for your specific needs.

Regardless of the underlying cause, your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications that may help improve your mood. Getting more sleep and following a healthy diet, for example, may be helpful.

What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Anger Aggression And Irritability In Children Unique

Anger and aggression are complex problems. A key benefit of seeking treatment from us is being able to access the resources of Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital. Oftentimes, one approach doesnt work in isolation, Sukhodolsky says, adding that Yale provides access to a wide range of mental health services for children with complicated mental health conditions and behavioral problems.

Also notable is the Child Study Centers commitment to treating children within the context of the family, with great sensitivity to culture and to each familys values and lifestyle. For example, Sukhodolsky says, showing respect for grandparents may be culturally important to a particular family. Some kids need a bit of extra training in how to be respectful, he says, so we develop a plan for each and every behavioral goal. Parents also learn to be respectful of things that matter to the child, and siblings are sometimes included in the treatment.

Whether the goal is accomplishing chores or getting to school on time, the approach is the same. We develop a realistic plan that takes about three months or so of weekly effective therapy to change behavior and that includes behaviors of the child and the parents and often the behavior of the siblings, Sukhodolsky says.

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Aba Techniques For Dealing With Anger

ABA therapy is a highly adaptable and flexible intervention that can be used in a variety of settings and tailored for the specific needs of your high-functioning autistic child. A therapist will start by spending some time with your child to analyze the behavioral patterns and determine his/her specific strengths and challenges. This functional behavior assessment will represent the basis for the work your child will do in therapy.

The ABA therapist will use a range of techniques to help your child with anger management. ABA therapy offers two effective ways of handling problem behaviors: proactive interventions and consequence-based reactive interventions. When used in combination, these two tactics will give you and your child all the necessary tools for preventing and managing anger issues.

Proactive intervention

Anger triggers are prevalent in an autistic childs surroundings. Thats why its extremely important to use proactive strategies that will help prevent your child from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. Strategies to minimize anger and aggression triggers include creating an environment that is calm, predictable, and as rewarding as possible for your autistic child.

Positive feedback

Neutral redirection

Positive reinforcement

Alternative behaviors

Modeling techniques

Scott Rustulka

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Olivia Steele

Arye Hartal

Joanna Young

Elissa Watson

Matthew Grennell

Sharifah Christie

Kimberly Culbreth

Emma Laramie

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Laura Lewis

Bisirat Haile

Food Allergies And Sensitivities

Cause Of Irritability In Autism

Food allergies or sensitivities can also cause undesirable behavior. In fact, some foods, like corn, are well known for causing aggression. This is an article on the emotional and behavioral effects of food allergies/intolerances observed by a doctor. Here is a case study improvement of neuropsychiatric symptoms following control of allergy symptoms with Xolair.

Phenols and Salicylates

Phenols are natural chemical compounds found in many foods such as apples, red grapes, and food dyes. Salicylates are a specific type of phenol. These properties of food can affect children in many different ways. Although phenols can be beneficial for some kids, they may pose problems, including aggression, to others. It is very child-specific. Kids on the autism spectrum seem to be more susceptible to phenol sensitivity. Red ears and cheeks are a tell-tale sign of phenol sensitivity. For more information, please read our article about Phenols and Salicylates.

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Future Study Of Anger Rumination

Researchers feel that further study of this topic is needed to better understand the role of perseveration and ASD, and if these tendencies are associated with anxiety, disruptive behavior and depressive symptoms. Could perseveration be used in interventions to recall positive personal memories rather than negative ones? We also cant discount the increased prevalence of trauma in children with ASD and the role that rumination may play in strengthening the association between trauma symptoms and anger. For example, how might the traumatic effects of bullying be related to anger rumination and core ASD symptoms? There may also be gender differences with anger rumination. So much to think about

Skills For Handling Emotions

Learning skills to handle emotions can help autistic teenagers with moods. Skills for handling emotions include:

  • identifying and labelling emotions
  • improving moods
  • seeking help.

If youre finding your childs behaviour difficult to understand or if their moods and behaviour are beyond what you can safely control, speak to your GP. They can refer you to an appropriate health professional.

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Why Are So Many Kids On The Spectrum Taking It And Is It Being Misused

Beth Arky

Are too many children on the autism spectrum being given psychotropic medication as a way to manage their behavior? When a 2012 study released by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that 56 percent of children and teens on the spectrum are taking one or more meds, critics pounced.

The strongest language comes from self-advocates, who deem the drugs chemical straitjackets used to make it easier for parents and teachers to manage challenging kids.

While there is no medication that affects the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder difficulties with communication, social interaction and restricted, repetitive behaviors these kids are being treated for conditions often associated with autism, including anxiety, hyperactivity, and aggression.

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The drugs clinicians are increasingly prescribing are aimed at curbing a range of problematic and sometimes dangerous behavior patterns that include everything from sleep disorders to violent meltdowns. These episodes arent a toddlers tantrums autistic children unable to express their anger and anxiety may become so overwhelmed they put themselves and other family members at risk. Some examples: breaking glass, throwing heavy objects, biting and head-butting. The fact that they often have sensory issues dysregulates them further if a caregiver yells at a child in an effort to rein in behavior, it tends to have the opposite effect.

Reliability And Item Profile Of Irritability In Boys With Hfasd

Signs, Causes, & Treatments of Irritability & Aggression for individuals with ASD Pt 2

Internal consistency

Our first aim was to check whether the irritability scales were internally reliable in hfASD. The ARI showed excellent internal consistency with Cronbach’s alphas 0.82 and 0.80 . This was compared to 0.91/0.86 in boys with SMD, 0.83/0.21 in HC boys and 0.43/0.31 in TD boys .

Crossinformant agreement

Next, we checked whether irritability reported by boys with hfASD related to their parents report of these problems. There was a moderately high correlation between parent and selfreport scales, r = .55, p = .003. Irritability scores were significantly higher for parent than selfreport in boys with hfASD = 4.10, p < .001, d = 0.76). Similar differences between parent and selfreported irritability were observed in boys with SMD and HC boys . Crossinformant coefficients for SMD, HC and TD groups were 0.60, 0.43, and 0.64, respectively.

Item distribution

We then compared the symptom pattern of irritability in boys with hfASD to that of boys with SMD and HC boys. The pattern of irritability symptoms in hfASD closely matched to SMD .1B). Being easily annoyed was the most common item, while the duration item angry most of the time was reported least by both reporting sources. HC boys scored significantly lower than those with SMD or hfASD on all items of the ARI.

Item frequencies for parent and selfreported irritability in boys with highfunctioning autism spectrum disorders compared to boys with severe mood dysregulation and healthy controls

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High Functioning Autism Symptoms

  • Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
  • Linguistic Oddities
  • Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
  • Dislike of Change
  • Focus on Self
  • Unusual Movement Patterns

Diagnosis rates for autism continue to rise, especially as parents and professionals become more familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism. Many patients are getting the assistance they need to live full, productive lives because their unusual behaviors are no longer seen as simple social awkwardness or eccentricity. As more caring medical and mental health professionals learn to recognize the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to people with autism will rise.

How To Spot Signs Of Anxiety

Both caregivers and people with autism should look out for signs of anxiety. Some symptoms of anxiety overlap with symptoms of autism. This can make anxiety more difficult to identify in a person with autism.

A person experiencing anxiety may lose their appetite or eat more than normal. They may struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sometimes, anxiety can look a lot like anger or fear. Stay alert to changes over time to help you decide whether this is a passing mood or a long-term condition.

You may notice an increase in repetitive or compulsive behaviors or an increase in sensory sensation-seeking behaviors. These behaviors may represent an attempt to decrease or manage anxiety.

It can be helpful to keep a journal to track behaviors and moods. A written record is more reliable than casual observations and memory. Notice changes in sleep, appetite, excitement over special interests, and overall daily mood.

If you or someone you care for is experiencing anxieties, talk to your clinician. They may be able to recommend strategies or treatments to help manage anxiety. Your clinician may also refer you to a specialist or provide access to supportive resources.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder Explained

Symptoms, who is affected, and why

Prozac seemed worth investigating, Dr. Hollander says. The drug influences brain levels of serotonin, and serotonin dysregulation appears to be common in people with ASD. Plus, Prozac and other SSRIs are frontline treatments for disorders thatlike ASDcan involve repetitive behaviors. But not all patients with ASD respond to Prozac, and not everyone tolerates it, so we decided to test other treatments.

Other treatments evaluated by Dr. Hollanders group include the hormone oxytocin the antiepilepsy drug valproate a marijuana extract and the eggs of a parasite that infects pigsdiverse therapies that each address a widely accepted cause of ASD: an excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in brain neural circuits.

Considerable evidence, from animal and human studies, suggests that ASD is accompanied by overexcitation of the brains neural circuits, due to either an increase in excitatory neuron signaling or a decrease in inhibitory signaling.

This E/I imbalance alters the way the brain processes information and regulates behavior, Dr. Hollander says. The imbalance triggers seizures, and we believe its also responsible for the core ASD symptoms that we cant treat effectively yet. So we look for interventions that show promise for correcting the E/I imbalance and, hopefully, easing the symptoms of people with ASD.

What Can Help With Ruminating Thoughts

Cause Of Irritability In Autism

Reduce Anxiety There are many strategies to reduce anxiety so try using a variety of strategies to build your toolbox.

Exercise Being physically active can reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being. Dont know where to start? Have a look at our physical activity article.

Get Outside in Nature There are a number of studies done on the benefits of nature . Walking in nature can reduce perseverative thoughts. My son goes on a hike once a week and we have seen improvement in his moods.

Distraction While this may not work every time, providing a distraction can take a persons mind off what it bothering them. For my daughter Julia, there are couple of cat videos that change her mood instantly. Talking about favorite topics and interests can stop ruminating thoughts.

Meditation or meditation techniques Our son developed his own over the years to classical music. He spends an hour every Monday meditating in his room. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply. There are also books on mindfulness practice, but keep in mind that not every person with autism can do this successfully. For more ideas on mindfulness, have a look at this article which also has a great reference section.

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Develop An Anger Management Record

The person may keep a diary or chart of situations that trigger anger. List the situation, the level of anger on a scale of one to ten and the coping strategies that help to overcome or reduce feelings of anger. A simple and effective technique for reducing levels of anger is the Stop Think technique.

A person notices the thoughts running through their mind. 1 Stop! and think before reacting to the situation 2 Challenge the inaccurate or unhelpful thoughts 3 Create a new thought.

A plan can also be developed to help a person avoid becoming angry when they plan to enter into a situation that has a history of triggering anger. An example of a personal plan is using the Stop – Think technique when approaching a shopping center situation that is known to trigger anger.

To improve my ability to cope with anger when I am waiting in long queues.

Autism And Anger Management

Adults diagnosed with autism disorders are prone to anger outbursts. An on-off quality where individuals may be calm one second and in a rage the next is common. Family members and significant others may grow resentful over time due to misunderstanding this behavior. Conflict within the home can be handled properly by helping the affected individual and immediate family members understand the causes of this anger. These difficulties can also be true for those living with high functioning autism and anger. According to, these are six common causes of anger in relation to autism disorders:

  • Being swamped by multiple tasks or sensory stimulation
  • Multitasking has become more common in todays on-the-move society. People expect others to be able to do more than one task at a time. But what may seem minimal to some can be extremely stressful to an autistic individual.

    2. Other peoples behavior

    An autistic individual may take great offense to insensitive or sarcastic comments that most may judge as light humor. Being ignored, whether on purpose or by accident, is a prevalent trigger as well.

    3. Having routine and order disrupted

    4. Difficulties with employment and relationships despite being intelligent in many areas

    5. Intolerance of imperfections in others

    6. Build up of stress

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    Rumination Emotional Dysregulation And Repetitive Or Restrictive Behaviors

    In a recent study, researchers looked at the association between rumination and RRBs contributing to overall emotional dysregulation in ASD. They found there may be common underlying deficits in cognitive control neural circuitry. Anger rumination may possibly be part of the core ASD symptoms, particularly RRBs . Difficulty in stopping perseverative thoughts may predispose children with ASD to engage in rumination. Impairments in emotional reactivity and cognitive control in combination with RRBs may inhibit the use of adaptive emotional regulation strategies such as problem solving. These impairments may in turn predispose children with ASD to an increased risk for developing comorbid psychiatric disorders.

    This becomes a cycle because deficits in cognitive control and using maladaptive strategies like rumination can prevent a person from using a more effective strategy like problem solving. Engaging in anger rumination or ruminative thoughts in general could be tied into deficits in emotional regulation in ASD. The correlation of anger rumination, emotional dysregulation and RRBs could make children with ASD more susceptible to a risk of disruptive behaviors.

    Sample Characteristics And Correlations

    Autism and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)//AspieAnswersAll

    The sample was exclusively male, and ages ranged from 5.02 to 12.87, with an M of 8.23 and SD of 2.12. Table 1 includes detailed information on participant characteristics, including level of functioning , ASD severity , problem behavior , and sleep . Table 2 further displays correlations among these variables.

    Table 2 Correlations.

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    The Challenges Of Living With High

    Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means people with autism have a wide range of symptoms and abilities. High-functioning autism is often considered mild, but that’s not necessarily true.

    People with HFA can struggle significantly. They may not need the same level of support as people with more severe autism. However, it can still have a major impact on their daily lives.

    This article discusses the common challenges of living with high-functioning autism.

    Rumination And Mental Health Issues

    Autism spectrum disorders often present with comorbidities, particularly mental health issues. Many mental health conditions can cause rumination, but rumination may also intensify the symptoms of some pre-existing conditions. In an article from Medical News Today, these examples of mental health issues and rumination were given.

    Depression: A person with depression may ruminate on very negative or self-defeating thoughts. For example, they may obsess over a belief that they are unworthy, not good enough, or doomed to fail.

    Anxiety: People with anxiety may ruminate on specific fears, such as the idea that something bad will happen to their family. Or they might ruminate more generally, continually scanning their mind for things that might go wrong.

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder : People with OCD may feel overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts about things that could go wrong. To relieve these thoughts, they may engage in rituals, such as checking door locks, cleaning, or counting.

    Phobias: People with phobias may ruminate on their fears, especially when they encounter the source of their phobia. For example, a person with a spider phobia may be unable to think about anything but their fear when in the same room as a spider.

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