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Living with Autism

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September 2, 2011

Anti-Psychotics and Gastrointestinal Issues in Autism

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Gastrointestinal Issues in Autism fueling Aberrant Behaviors?


So a recent CT scan of abdomen (8/30/11) done on my autistic son shows: “mild edema of mesentery” and “trace fluid right paracolic gutter.” This was after taking Risperdal. 

 I was NOT told this result by doctor. I had to get RN to pull up results on computer screen and copy results by hand on a writing tablet I keep handy. 

I’ve learned from years of disappointment and misinformation regarding my son’s evaluations that you can’t be sure you are being told the whole truth about test results. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s because, as one doctor later told me,  “it’s nothing…it’s a non-specific finding.”

When you have an autistic child who has severe, chronic, episodic issues like self-injurious behaviors, every finding is specific and warrants scrutiny, as it could be harming health and triggering aberrant behaviors.

When I later did a Google search of “mild edema of mesentery” and “fluid in paracolic gutter” it doesn’t appear to be a non-specific finding. 

In fact, it appears such a presentation warrants further investigation.

But alas, I’m just a mother of an autistic son with a lousy Master's Degree in Education and a BA in Espanol. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nurse. When doctors hear I “Google” something related to my son’s health, I'm just some hyper-vigilant mom desperate for answers (like what mother of an autistic child isn’t?). I’m given a sympathetic smile and warned, “not to trust everything you see on the Internet”-- though I've seen doctors use the Internet to search medical issues themselves. Go figure. I guess you need an MD to google medical stuff. Not an M.Ed. 


Last week my son was hospitalized for dehydration. Dehydration is directly related to his chronic deterioration of appetite and drinking since his first administration of anti-psychotics, mainly Risperdal. Though Zyprexa and Abilify were also given. Both shit drugs. 

Risperdal is an equally shit drug often used for autism that caused my son acute tongue tremors and tongue paralysis.

To reverse side effects, he was given Cogentin, another shit drug and potent anti-cholingeric, to reverse the side effect of the other shit drug, Risperdal. Cogentin didn't completely reverse it. Thus, the EPS (extra-pyramidal symptoms) continued. UPDATE: He's much better now after months of nutritional therapy! B-6. Amino Acids. 

Despite the acutes signs of EPS caused by anti-psychotics, upon discharge I was handed discharge papers that said my son’s diagnosis was “dehydration” and “acne”. 

ACNE. For the love of God, can you imagine? Acne. After all this. 

I get 4 pages of acne information. 

I receive NOTHING about chronic adverse side effects of anti-psychotics that left my son with over 5 months of slowly declining eating behavior and loss of weight, post Risperdal,

 Research shows risperdal can cause tongue paralysis, dysphasia, and tongue tremors. Tongue tremors can lead to dehydration, given the person can’t eat or drink properly when your tongue isn’t properly functioning.

I refused to sign discharge papers until “rule out anti-psychotic induced dystonias” was duly noted. 

It took me hours to get doctors to believe the connection, the entire time, them trying to ping-pong me back to neurology and psychiatry. 

I remember articulating timeline of when he first received anti-psychotics and how since anti-psychotics, there had been a steady decline in his eating habits. 

One doctor blamed my son’s lack of eating on “his severe autism.” Another tried to blame it on the “heat.” 

Suffice it to say, it is mentally exhausting to have to constantly advocate.  I’m tired. Tired of hearing, “your son is just so complex…we’ve never seen anything like this.” Well, he is complex, I’ll admit that, but not so complex that simple signs and symptoms should be ignored. And let’s face it, life is complex. People will spend hours on the Internet planning a vacation or standing in line for a Beanie Baby, but professionals working with autistic patients won't spend a few hours educating themselves about autism? I don't get it. Intrinsic motivation, I suppose. 



It’s heartbreaking to think how many autistic persons are given anti-psychotic drugs when they are really suffering from underlying, undetected medical issues that aren't being treated properly. 

I have still not received any reason for the "non specific finding". So I will revert back to what I know can't hurt. Nutritional therapy. Holistic healing. I'm so tired of anti-psychotics. They are a complete FAILURE.