Ayurvedic Treatment for Autism is quite different from other systems of medicine as Ayurveda considers the mind as a matter. The root cause of the disease lies in the body and mind and so the Ayurvedic concept of mind helps to tackle the situation in a different way. The herbal medications administered internally and externally helps to improve the condition and Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, a special Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle are used to reverse the condition.
Autism or Autism spectrum disorders include developmental disorders that impair the ability to communicate and interact. This includes a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech, and nonverbal communication.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms presented with autism vary according to age. During the early stages of life that are at 6 to 12 months, the min signs noticed include lack of smile or eye contact. Also, there is little or no response to back-and-forth gestures like pointing, showing, waving, etc. The other important signs and symptoms noticed at any age includes,
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling, or social skills
- Lack of eye contact
- There is a persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development and persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted or lack of interests
- Repetitive behaviours like flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights, and/or colours
The researchers are being done to demonstrate the exact cause of autism. The suspected causes of autism include,
- Genetic involvement and if a family member having autism
- A child born to older parents and babies with low birth weight
- genetic disorders or fragile X chromosome
- Imbalances in metabolism
- Viral infections, exposure to environmental toxins and heavy metals
- Exposure of the fetus to medications like thalidomide, valproic acid
The exact pathogenesis of autism is still unrevealed. Several genes are involved in the pathogenesis of autism which is involved in neuronal synaptogenesis. Several environmental factors and associated conditions such as gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities and immune imbalance have been linked to the pathophysiology of ASD.
There is no single test to diagnose the disease. This makes the diagnosis difficult. But early diagnosis and proper intervention are very crucial in the management of autism. The diagnosis can be made from the clinical symptoms and history taking. For diagnosis, the specialist may,
- Observe your child and ask about the child’s social interactions, behaviour, and communication skills, how they developed and changed over time
- score the performance of the child after presenting the structured social and communication interactions to your child
- Give child, tests covering hearing, speech, language, developmental level, and social and behavioural issues
- genetic testing can be done to identify whether your child has a genetic disorder such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome
- The diagnosis can be made based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association
The complete cure of Autism is not possible, but the early diagnosis and timely intervention help in maintaining the disease. The goal of treatment is to maximize the child’s ability to function by reducing autism symptoms. Also, help in supporting development and learning. Intervention should be done in preschool ages itself. The treatment is decided after considering the need of the child under proper expert guidance. The treatment option include,
- Behaviour and communication therapies
- Educational therapies.
- Family therapies
- Other therapies like speech therapy to improve communication skills, occupational therapies to train daily living, physical therapy to improve movement
- Specific medications are used to control the symptoms like antipsychotic drugs in hyperactivity and behavioural problems, antidepressants in case of anxiety.
The prognosis of autism is highly correlated with their IQ. Low-functioning patients find difficulty in living independently and they typically need home or residential care. High-functioning patients live independently, hold jobs successfully, and even marry and have children.
If the diagnosis and intervention delays in the case of Autism there can develop some complications like,
- Social isolation or difficulty making and keeping friends.
- Trouble in finding and maintaining steady employment.
- Decreased self-confidence.
- Difficulties with social interactions.
- Depression and Anxiety.
Disease and Ayurveda
Unmada is a term that represents broad classes of mental ailments in Ayurvedic literature that covers Autism Spectrum Disorders. Unmada is explained in Ayurveda includes the derangement in the Manas (mental functioning), Budhi (application of the acquired knowledge), Samjna (perceptions), Jnana (experiences), Smriti (memory), Bhakti (emotional adhesions), Seela (conditioned activities), Cheshta (behaviour) and Achara (socio-cultural activities)
The main vitiated dosha is vata and the factors which vitiate vata can cause this condition.
- Virudha ahara and vihara (improper daily regimens)
- Excessive intake of foods which are ruksha (fat-free diet), alpa (low portion size or serving size of food/low-calorie diet), sheeta (cold food) in nature
- Depletion of body tissues, excessive fasting, etc.
- Manasika vikaras (emotions of mind) like fear, sorrow, etc. can vitiate vata dosha.
The diseases of psychological involvement always happen to those with less satwa bala (less mental strength).
Purvaroopam- Premonitory Symptoms
- Emptiness of head
- Noises in the ears and congestion in the eyes
- Anorexia and indigestion
- Fickle mindedness and pain in the upper part of the body
- Lack of inclination to food
- Anxiety in improper situations
Due to the favourable causative factors, the vitiated doshas ascends upwards towards the hridaya (mind) which leads to functional disturbance in the brain and mind.
Lakshana Signs and Symptoms
- Dhee vibramsa (intellectual confusion)
- Satwa pariplava (fickleness of mind)
- Impatience or Paryakulata
- Unsteadiness of eyes
- Abadha vaktvam (irrelevant speech)
- Hridaya soonyata (emptiness of heart or mind)
- Incapable of experiencing pleasure
Divisions based on Dosha
Five types based on dosha predominance
Autism can be managed using the treatment principle of Unmada and this includes,
- Samana chikitsa which includes drugs that pacify doshas
- Shodhana chikitsa (bio cleansing procedures) to eliminate the vitiated doshas and restore the homeostasis
- Sattvavajaya chikitsa which includes mind and self-control techniques
- Daivavyapasraya chikitsa to restore the confidence
Commonly used medicines
- Kalyanaka kashayam
- Brahmi ghritam
- Kalyanaka gritam
- Mahat Panchagavya ghritam
- Manasa mitravatakam
- Drakshadi kashaya
- Abhyanga (oil massage) with Dhanwantharam thailam, Vatasini thailam, Ksheerabala thailam
- Swarna bhasma with ghee and honey
- Saraswatarishta with milk
- Saraswatha choornam with ghee and honey
- Aswagandha Choornam
- Aryavaidyasala Kottakkal
- Vaidyaratnam Oushadasala
- Kerala Ayurveda
Home Remedies and diet
- Probiotics, yoghurt
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help in the development of brain functions
- Proper sleep to maintain balance in serotonin release
- Training given to parents to guide such children
- Stay them active and allow them to be with peer group
- Walnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate and Eggs
Yoga’s methodical approach to breathing and moving makes it an excellent option for anxious children to learn strong coping skills.
Simple postures like,
- Sisu asana
- Savasana, etc. can be practised by children. Breathing exercises can also be practised.
- Anuloma viloma pranayama
Research articles link.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
Dr. Nair is a regular speaker at Ayurveda-related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda. You can write directly to him-
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