A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control shows that, in the past decade, cases of autism have risen nearly 78%. Autism, which is a term often used to describe any number of disorders covered under Autism Spectrum Disorder, was previously believed to affect one out of every 150 children in the United States, but these new findings now bring that statistic closer to one out of every 88 children. In addition, this new figure is actually part of a growing trend which has produced larger autism numbers every two years.
The reason behind the growth, however, is still unknown. Some medical professionals claim that the reason the numbers continue to rise is because the medical community is now casting a broader net when it comes to diagnosing children with autism. Others believe that contaminants, such as mercury in food or water are the cause, and some have even suggested that prescription medications and vaccinations are behind the growing numbers.
In terms of treatment, many medical professionals are now advocating for earlier testing and early behavioral intervention to head off the disorder before it has a chance to take hold. Other treatment options involve therapy techniques, including sensory integration, which are designed to help autistic children change their way of perceiving and experiencing their world. The hope of these therapies is to “unblock” the neural passageways and set new patterns of behavior in place.
Another approach to treating autism has been through the use of medications, however, as mentioned, many parents of autistic children already believe that prescription medications have caused the problem in the first place, so this method has been received tepidly. Additionally, one of the largest issues with using medications on autistic children is that these medications simply treat the symptoms of the disorder, and they don’t treat the disorder itself. For example, in autism cases which involve severe behavioral problems, some doctors may prescribe antipsychotic medications, or in cases which involve anxiety, antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed. To further complicate matters, many of these drugs go on to cause dependence or new symptoms.
One path that many parents consider as an alternative to prescription medication is to use natural supplements. Natural supplements which reduce stress may be helpful in combating the symptoms of autism without the related side effects which accompany prescription drugs. In fact, combined with various therapies, natural supplements may be just as beneficial to children with autism, if not more so. Many natural supplements can also be used to balance the body’s diet and restore healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.