Asperger Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatments
Asperger syndrome is a disorder on the Autism spectrum, and considering how significantly it can affect the lives and behavior of those affected by it, understanding the symptoms and potential treatment options is extremely important.
Considered a mild autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, commonly referred to as Asperger’s, presents a number of challenging behavioral and cognitive issues that make treatment a challenge. Primarily, Asperger’s affects nonverbal communication and social interaction, and is characterized as a developmental disorder. Some of the most common symptoms also include repetitive thought patterns and behaviors, but people who suffer from this syndrome typically display normal intelligence and language skills. It is the implementation of that intelligence and the choice to socially interact that separates those with Asperger’s. Some of the other symptoms are physical clumsiness and an inability to empathize with the emotions of others. Affecting roughly 30 million people around the globe, Asperger’s is unusual, in that no clear cause has been determined, and no cure has been discovered. Some of the leading theories argue for genetic inheritance, or environmental factors, but brain scans have shown no common underlying cause in a wide range of patients.
Nonverbal communication is an essential tool for interaction with others in the world, and this is where so many Asperger’s patients struggle. They often find nuance in language difficult to understand, their speech may be monotone, rigid or very fast, and conversational skills of “give and take” may be severely impaired. Eye contact is frequently avoided, and body language is unreadable or unpredictable. In terms of behavior, repetitive routines are common, and obsessive actions surrounding one or two concepts, objects or behavior patterns is frequently seen. Violent outbursts, extreme sensitivity to sensory inputs, and tantrums/meltdowns can happen when a patient is exposed to new surroundings or activities. There are many formal treatments, albeit no permanent cures, but since Asperger syndrome is a lifelong condition, many people have sought out home remedies to mitigate some of the symptoms of this disorder.
Treatment Options for Asperger Syndrome
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There are many different factors that influence the manifestation of Asperger syndrome, but the strength of the neural connections is certainly one of them. Omega-3 fatty acids have been directly linked to lining and protecting these key pathways, improving brain function and reducing inflammation, making it an essential aspect of treatment for Asperger syndrome. Some of the best food where you can access omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, spinach, soybeans, walnuts and flaxseed oil.
St. John’s Wort: This ancient remedy for mood improvement may also be able to affect the mood instability of those suffering from Asperger syndrome. Depression and social isolation are both common for people suffering from this disorder, and this herbal supplement is known to stabilize mood and eliminate these types of feelings. However, this is a powerful herb with certain side effects, so consumption should be limited, and you should speak to a doctor before combining this with other pharmaceutical treatments.
Diet Alteration: Anecdotal evidence has shown that certain dietary adjustments can be very helpful in remedying Asperger’s. For example, eliminating dairy, sugary foods, gluten and some preservatives can help to stabilize mood for various reasons, and reduce nervous exhaustion and anxiety, which is common in this disorder.
Psychiatric Therapy: Handling the unpredictable side of Asperger syndrome can be too much to handle for some parents, so seeking out help is highly recommended. Psychiatric therapy can come in many different forms, such as play therapy and musical therapy, unlocking ways to communicate with something suffering from this condition, and offering new options for developing behavioral skills.
Educational Intervention: It is difficult for someone with Asperger’s to operate in a traditional classroom, for any number of reasons, from noise and social interaction to inability to focus. Educational intervention can come in the form of customized educational curriculum, private tutoring, and other strategies to ensure your child develops intellectually at a normal rate, despite some of the struggles they may have in a “normal” educational setting.
Social Skills Adjustment: It is important to study certain social skills exercises and implement them when dealing with someone with Asperger’s. There are ways to teach social skills, but most people simply develop them naturally over time. For someone with this psychiatric disorder, more effort will need to be made to establish these fundamental behaviors and competencies, but progress can be made!
Vitamin C: This essential vitamin is more than just a booster for the immune system; it is also a powerful antioxidant that can clear up much of the oxidative stress that can hamper cognitive function. Vitamin C is known to reduce symptoms of depression and encourage more stable behavior.
Vitamin B6: Some of the most common side effects of a vitamin B6 deficiency include mood instability, irritability, behavioral problems and depression, many of the symptoms seen as a result of Asperger’s. By increasing this vitamin in your diet, you can counter many of the most difficult side effects of this condition. Add foods like tuna, bananas, sweet potatoes and spinach to your diet to boost your vitamin B6 levels.
Lemon Balm: Known as a great nervine tonic, lemon balm has proven to be extremely soothing to the erratic or manic behavior occasionally demonstrated by people with Asperger’s. The extreme anxiety and behavioral outbursts can also be controlled somewhat with the use of lemon balm. You can mix lemon balm into smoothies or health shakes, or you can allow the herb to dry and prepare it as a tea. Both are effective remedies.
Chamomile: One of the most relaxing herbs in the world is chamomile, which is why it is one of the most popular tea varieties in the world. Chamomile is a powerful treatment option for Asperger syndrome, as it can calm erratic behavior, promote restful sleep, and calm the mind when it is feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Final Word of Warning: This psychiatric disorder is challenging and dynamic in its manifestations. Seeking out professional help or a medical diagnosis is strongly suggested if your child is displaying signs or symptoms of Asperger syndrome. Early treatment to set the course for behavioral development is crucial, so any indication that your child is on the autism spectrum should be addressed immediately.