'I-28Sfuuy-WR10okMSia3VYeZTm2RHA2LZDel59TlF8' name='google-site-verification'/>www ghs.google.com 6dseurqgapmn gv-v6egtfduggmq3k.dv.googlehosted.com Autismwarriormama: June 2011

Living with Autism


June 25, 2011

Medical mysteries: autism and chronic self-injurious behavior

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryIt's been a week since my son’s last severe self-injurious meltdown, and all I can say is that despite all my intellectual analysis and constant research, I, along with doctors, can find NO concrete reason as to WHY he suddenly went into a 4-day bender of non-stop head hitting last week, and then, after numerous interventions to stop it, finally stopped. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Now sometimes it will happen, and you’ll find out he has a UTI, or a blister or ear ache that is hurting him. Not this time. Doctors found nothing. Did CT scan of head. Chest x-ray. Blood tests. Body checks. Nada. He just stopped hitting.

And he hasn’t hit himself ONE time in 4 days now. So, once again, I study everything that went on before, during and after that could give us some CLUES. The only thing that jumps out at me is auto-intoxication. This happens when the autistic person is constipated. 

Clue: He had been constipated. 

Now, for us who aren’t autistic, this may seem a little dramatic. After all, when we’re constipated, we don’t punch ourselves. But you have to understand autistic persons like my son. 

They don’t understand how to process pain and discomfort. 

People with autism may even feel pain MORE than we do, but have a higher TOLERANCE for it, thus enduring the pain for longer, until they finally blow up and have an extreme behavioral meltdown. This seems to be the case with my son, for sure. He often won't present as we would if in pain, until the pain is so bad, he has a complete meltdown. Reason, higher tolerance for pain. That doesn't 'mean they don't 'feel pain, just a higher tolerance. 

 They either under or overreact to pain. And it’s more than that. Pain often begets pain. For example, constipation makes him hit himself. Hitting himself releases more pain which then triggers more head hitting and then turns into a full blown head punching meltdown that can only be stopped by changing brain chemistry, stopping pain and offering him constant comfort (massage, warm baths, etc…). This is no easy task.

Auto intoxication itself changes brain chemistry. Hence, if you fail to clean/heal the body, but still introduce anti-psychotics or other drugs for self-injurious behavior, you only ADD toxins into an already toxic brain and body fueling the self-injurious behavior (SIB). Of course in the midst of witnessing a self-injurious autistic person suffering, or stuck in a health-damaging cycle of self-abuse, doctors want to stop it. All they know is to give drugs to stop it. That’s all doctors are trained to do. They don’t often look for hard to detect bodily issues fueling SIB in the autistic brain. Things like impacted bowels. H-pylori. Deviated septums.

You have to dig deeper into the lives of autistics with self injurious behavior (SIB). 

Non Verbal people with autism are more complex and delicate than persons with higher functioning autism who have milder behavioral issues. 

Indeed, there are medical anomalies about autistics with chronic self-injury that have yet to be discovered.

For example, one clue is there is unusual NMDA, dopamine, serotonin and/or peptide regulation in severe autism with SIB. 

What’s more, receptors often get “stuck”, (OCD type condition) in the brains of autistics suffering from self-injurious behavior.

Stopping SIB in autism is a bit like fighting fires. You don’t just throw water on a fire. You have to look at wind (which could vary throughout day) temperature (which can change hourly), humidity, topography, and other things. 

In same way strong wind velocities may drive fire behavior to extremes, so it is with self-injurious behavior in autism: The stronger the fuels driving the behavior, the harder you have to work to put out that fire.

Things that may have helped him come out of last severe SIB meltdown:

1.              Temporary restraints to protect from severe bodily injury that would cause pain and thus, trigger more self-abuse

2.              Green drinks to alkalize system during constipation

3.              Warm baths with aromatherapy (lavender and jasmine) to soothe and comfort olfactory senses and calm brain

4.              Abilify (aripiprazole) [D2 & 5 HT 1a receptors--partial agonist] low dose BID, for 2 days (that backfired, as it led to tongue tremors, then he needed Cogentin as antidote)

5.              Walking to release stress (took 2 staff)

6.              Holding vibration tube (with assist, since during a self abusive meltdown he can slam vibration tube into his face or head if staff is not also holding tube)

7.              Unceasing PRAYER—even angry prayers that you may not think get answered. God is bigger than our anger, frustration and pain

8. A plethora of undetected, unclear reasons that are yet to be discovered, but it seems self-abuse is a form of communication to relief the stress of how the person feels DUE to dysregulation of neurotransmitters in brain. 

9. More research needed into creating medications that target ways to enhance brain functioning, as per DNA testing, to see what is the underlying reason, many people with autism are "non responders" to a plethora of medications? 

10. More research needed into how the immune system reacts to stress in people with autism, and how that reaction can influence behavior.

11. More pharmacogenetic testing by psychiatrists treating people with autism to help increase health and lower costs of repeated hospitilizations that lead everyone in circles.