July 30, 2013

Troubleshooting Self-Injurious Behavior in Autism

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryImagine if you couldn't talk. Years passed. Couldn't tell anyone about your bouts of acid stomach or severe belly cramps. Time ticked on. Doctors didn't know you had recurrent shooting pain above your ear. Sudden throbbing headaches. Or in one case, "a child's decades-long severe (self-injurious behavior) SIB was found to be caused by a chronic painful mastoid infection." Source: Autism Research Institute, Vol. 19, No.1, 2005

Treating self-injurious behavior in non-verbal autistic persons doesn't have to a decades long nightmare.  Look for obvious signs. Know the person's baseline. Learn how they use SIB to communicate. IF an autistic person is self-abusing ALL day, something is very wrong. Don't blame it on the autism. It's NOT normal for autistic people to want to hurt themselves all day long, unless they are being tormented by acute, chronic or intermittent pain. 

Or something else is tormenting them, such as drug induced restless legs. Or undetected high blood pressure. You really do have to be a Sherlock Holmes when it comes to treating non-verbal autistic persons. There is simply no other way about it. 

It can't be overlooked that what is easily or moderately tolerated for us, is torture for some autistic people. Restless legs may be akin to your legs on fire. High blood pressure may feel like having a jack hammer in your body. A stuffy nose feels like you're suffocating. 

Because standard medical treatment carries many adverse side effects, try natural treatments. At least if that fails, you know you first tried something less invasive. 

Some alternative treatments for troubleshooting SIB:

1. Stomach Pain: Herbal teas with honey. (Don't use Peppermint Tea if person has acid reflux)

2. Headaches: Peppermint Oil on scalp and temples. Apply layer of Vaseline below temples to avoid Peppermint oil going into eyes. 

3. Restless Legs: Give a Magnesium drink. Massage legs. Check iron levels. Increase exercise and hydration. 

4. High Blood Pressure: See a doctor. Not something you want to ignore. However, garlic supplements can lower blood pressure. So can exercise. 

5. Insomnia: Melatonin. Calcium-magnesium. Gaba. Glycine.

6. Spots of Pain: Capsaicin cream applied VERY carefully. And in small dots. Read the directions. But no doubt, this is the quickest most effective topical pain relieving cream on the market.  It works. I've dotted in on my autistic son's neck when I suspected he slept too long in an uncomfortable position. It seemed to help. Don't apply before bathing. Or swimming. Water seems to super activate the capsaicin. It can cause burning sensation. 

7. Hypersensitive hearing: Give magnesium drinks. Apply ear plugs. Music therapy. 

8. Anxiety:  Liquid B-vitamins. Emergen-C packets. Epsom salt baths.

Sometimes the SIB may be so bad, you can't try any of the above. You have to take them to the doctor. Do tests. Rule out things. Guess. The point is you can't give up. Can't just dismiss everything and blame it on the autism. Be the Sherlock Holmes you need to be to make their lives happier and healthier. 


July 14, 2013

How to Better Help Autistic Patients in Hospital Setttings

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryIs giving a patient with autism ativan and benadryl the only option billions of dollars in research has come up with to help autistic people in a hospital setting?

Autistic people don't want to have their brains overly sedated in an already scary and unpredictable world. Thus, they feel safest when their brains are working at optimum level so they can better process the world around them.

How can we help autistic patients in hospital settings who are recovering from general anesthesia or having a chronic and self-abusive behavioral crisis?

An IV Banana Bag may be a helpful intervention for autistic patients recovering from general anesthesia. And help hospitalized autistic patients stay calm in a strange setting while receiving medical care.

IV Banana Bags used on autistic patients may lessen need for longer times in restraints. Or having to rely solely on anti-psychotics to stabilize autistic people. Yes, it's a NOVEL approach. IT doesn't fit what you think would work or even make sense, but it does make sense if you understand the world of severe autism.

Likewise, it's possible giving IV drip Banana Bags to autistic patients may shorten duration of hospital stay in autistic patients with challenging behaviors.

An IV Banana Bag is typically 1 Liter of normal saline (0.9%) with:

Thiamine 100 mg
Folic Acid  1 mg
Multivitamin 1 amp
3 grams Magnesium Sulfate
Bag is infused over 4-8 hours as per physician's order

IV drip Banana Bag would most likely be useful in helping other disabled and even Elderly Patients, especially with Dementia, to recover faster from general anesthesia. And should be considered as an adjunct for mood stabilization while hospitalized to lower use of anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines.

The IV drip Banana Bag may mitigate muscle cramps, nerve and muscle pain. It also helps with dehydration, which many elderly and disabled patients suffer from.  Considering how easy and effective this can be, more studies should investigate this treatment.