Lately, I've been getting an unusual number of referrals for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I'm not an expert in treating this condition but I do have experience with it in my family life and as a psychologist. Because I'm a prescribing psychologist, I felt an imperative to learn more about what the latest research and experts are saying about treating High Functioning Autism (HFA) with medications. So I thought I would share what I've learned for those of you who are stumped about the idea of using medications to treat a neurodevelopmental condition.
First the bad news... psychotropic medications won't treat the core symptoms of Autism, like social communication and relating deficits, understanding emotional expressions, or restricted patterns of behavior.
Now the good news... psychotropics CAN benefit some of the symptoms that are commonly experienced along with ASD like:
There are different classes of medication that are used for different symptoms but the ONE and BIGGEST mistake that I see with prescribing psychotropics for even HFA is STARTING TOO HIGH on the dosing. If you start someone who is feeling anxious on a dose of Prozac (fluoxetine) 20 mg. they are more than likely going to feel like they've had 10 cups of coffee. The same goes for Cymbalta (duloxetine), Strattera (atomoxetine) and Effexor (venlafaxine). So if your decide to start any medication, speak with your doctor about starting at a low dose and moving up from there.
When first starting a psychotropic medicine the standard rule is:
Regardless of whether or not you choose to start a medicine for the co-occurring symptoms of ASD, remember this:
A pill will NOT:
Bottomline: Meds can help, but they won't hand you the kleenex or listen to how much your parents suck. They will lower the volume on your:
For those of you who have been diagnosed on the spectrum and have used medications to treat your symptoms, let me know what you think about whether you think they're worth utilizing. Or maybe you have found psychotherapy alone more useful?
2488 Calle De Guadalupe, Mesilla, NM 88046
Phone: (575) 652-3654