In the search for a cure for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), people find themselves asking what causes it. The truth is that no one truly knows. That is why some people seek alternative medicine in their search for a cure.
The pregnant mother had a long bout with the flu. The father was older than average at the time of conception. It could have been the gene pool. An induced labor. Antibiotics taken by the mother before birth. Immunization shots given afterward. Any of these, or all of these, or some combination of these, may be related to Autism. Maybe it could be something no one has discovered yet.
Scientists like to think they can answer the questions that concerned parents ask, but this is one time when science just do not know – at least not yet – and in the meantime the parents of autistic children have choices to make.
Doctors can prescribe medicine that will help with the effects of ASD. Naltrexone is approved by the FDA to treat repetitious behavior, although it can also cause mood swings. Risperidone and aripiprazole can help with irritability, but they can cause weight gain. Medicinal options for ASD are few and far between and they are still merely putting a bandaid on something that goes far deeper and is far more complicated than moodiness or doing the same thing over and over.
While the scientific community is digging to find a cure, parents need answers now so they are coming up with their own in looking for an alternative medicine for Autism.
UC Davis MIND Institute published a study in January of 2014, where they took 578 children between the ages of two and five with ASD and developmental disabilities and looked at what other options their parents were coming up with. Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) were found to be popular and not just among those without the funds to pay for high-level medication.
This should really come as no surprise. There aren’t many options out there regardless of how much money you have to spend on them.
The CAMs used included “mind-body medicine” (prayer and spiritual support), probiotics, dietary choices, and homeopathic remedies. A small number of those who chose CAMs were using what is considered more potentially dangerous – vitamin B-12 injections, anti-fungal medications, or chelation therapy.
The level of parental education was found to have an unexpected impact on the decision to use CAMs. Parents with a higher education were more likely to research and choose CAMs in order to treat their children.
Also, those parents who gave their children less immunizations than doctors recommend, or refused to vaccinate them altogether, were slightly more likely to choose CAMs, but no more likely to choose CAMs that are considered riskier. This supports what the anti-immunization movement has said for years; they are just as good parents as anyone else, and only want what is best for their children.
The Californian study is said by Paul Wang, PhD, research professional at Autism Speaks in New York City, to not really contain any new information. However, Robin Hansen MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the UC Davis Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Director of Clinical programs at the MIND Institute, disagrees. Hansen says that it does not appear in Northern California that families use any complementary and alternative medicines due to any lack of conventional services being available. Other research suggests this too.
By Melissa Kirby