Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex brain development disorder of associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, attention and physical health issues. Usually diagnosed at an early age between the years of two and three, the CDC reports a ten-fold increase in prevalence amongst American children in the last 40 years.
Although often characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, children with ASD typically excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Research suggests that autistic children overreact to sensory stimuli, and are more likely to be overwhelmed by sensations like hot or cold temperatures or the textures of food.
Evidence is now showing that there are various causes for autism, and also various types. It appears that autism is caused by a combination of risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development including:
- Advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad)
- Maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain
- Genetic risk factors.
Treatments for ASD are varied and can be costly with lifetime costs ranging from $1.4 million to $2.4 million per child, according to research from Yale University. Intervention usually consists of behavioral treatments, medicines or a combination of both. Because ASD is typically diagnosed early on, early intensive behavioral intervention involves the entire family working closely with a team of professionals. Services in which therapists train the parents to lead therapy sessions under their supervision is highly effective. With the enormous financial and emotional burdens of ASD therapy, identifying the most effective treatments early on offers dramatical relief for families.
The risk of birthing a child with ASD is lowered by taking prenatal vitamins or eating a diet rich in folic acid during the months before and after conception. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect working towards social harmony towards a relatively new disorder that is still very much a mystery.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.