Deciding whether to initiate medication use in people with autism can be difficult. What is the relationship between Ritalin and autism? What are the conditions in which Ritalin may be effective in people with autism?
Ritalin and autism: the most important information
What is the relationship between Ritalin and autism? Ritalin is generally used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , and while some children with autism show symptoms of hyperactivity, Ritalin can help reduce these symptoms in some, but not all, children with autism, and this would allow children to focus for a while. Longer and think more before they act.
It should be noted that Ritalin is only dispensed with a prescription by a pediatrician, child psychologist, or sometimes by a general practitioner after weighing the benefits that may accrue to the child against the potential risks.
Ritalin and autism: What do the studies say?
A group of recent studies concluded that Ritalin use improved a range of symptoms in autistic people, such as impulsivity and hyperactivity, as well as social communication and self-regulation.
On the other hand, there was no evidence that Ritalin showed an exacerbation or improvement in the basic symptoms of autism, such as: problems with social interaction and communication skills, and the presence of limited and repetitive behavioral patterns.
One study also showed that long-term Ritalin therapy lasting an average of 24 months was effective for children and adolescents with ADHD and autism.
Ritalin and autism: How do you know if a drug is working or not?
After clarifying the relationship between Ritalin and autism and its role in reducing the symptoms of hyperactivity in people with autism, how can we be sure that Ritalin is effective in alleviating these symptoms in a child? Here are some tips that may help answer this question:
- Take a week to write down details about your child’s hyperactivity or target problem, such as when, how often and for how long the behavior occurred, and how severe it was before starting Ritalin.
- Pay attention to your child’s sleeping habits and appetite, as this will enable you to see if anything might change once your child starts taking the medication.
- Try not to change anything else about your child’s routine or treatment program when he starts taking the medicine, as this will help you notice any changes from the medicine itself easily.
Ritalin: side effects
The following is a list of the most common side effects of Ritalin:
- Excessive sweating .
- mood changes
- Feeling nervous or irritable.
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Loss of appetite .
- Weight loss.
- Dry mouth.
- Having stomach pain and headache.
Medications and autism: what is their role?
After clarifying the relationship between Ritalin and autism, what is the role of other medications in treating autism?
There are no medications that can improve the core symptoms of autism, but some medications can help control symptoms. The following is a list of the most prominent of these symptoms and medications that can help treat them:
- Aggressive behavior: Risperidone, which belongs to a group of atypical antipsychotics, can help reduce aggressive behavior in children with autism.
- Anxiety and obsessive behavior: Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help reduce anxiety and can reduce obsessive behavior in children.
- Hyperactivity: Stimulants such as methylphenidate can help reduce hyperactivity in some children with autism.
- Epileptic seizures: seizures can usually be treated with anti-epilepsy medications, and the choice of medication depends on the type of seizure the child has, the presence of any other problems he has, and other medications he is taking.
- Sleep problems: Melatonin can help treat sleep difficulties in children with autism.
- Tics: Many medications can help reduce tics, which are involuntary movements, such as: antipsychotics and noradrenergic agents.