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Asperger’s Syndrome : Symptoms, Tests, Diagnosis and Treatments
Adult female/AFAB Asperger's syndrome traits – Slower and sensory friendly version : Asperger’s Syndrome : Symptoms, Tests, Diagnosis and Treatments. With a greater focus on mental health and increasing awareness, Americans are learning more and more about autism spectrum disorders, especially Asperger’s Syndrome.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of high functioning autism said to affect anywhere between 0.26 and 4.3 people out of 1,000. (Statistically, boys are more affected than girls, but there is no research to explain this discrepancy.) It is most often diagnosed in children. In fact, it is said that as many as 20% of diagnosed children will grow out of its criteria as adults. This does not mean that they are cured, or even that they do not need ongoing treatment for things such as anxiety and depression that often accompany diagnosis as an Aspie, but merely that they often learn skills that mean that they no longer meet the current diagnostic criteria for the condition.
However, do not think that this condition is exclusively a problem for parents and children. Many must live with it their entire lives, and whether due to misdiagnosis or no psychiatric evaluation at all, many adults are being diagnosed with AS for the first time.
What are the symptoms?
Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome is notoriously difficult, especially in adults who have learned ways to cope with some of the most commonly used diagnostic criteria, but all diagnostic methods agree that these three primary symptoms must be present:
- difficulty picking up on and using nonverbal communication
- highly specific, consuming interests
- repetitive, stereotyped behavior
Of course, these are not the only symptoms associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition to social troubles, special interests, and routines, many Aspies experience things like stimming (self-soothing behavior), as well as many comorbid disorders such as depression, anxiety, or even anorexia or seizure disorders.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder, meaning that a pattern of symptoms must be present, not just one. These symptoms must negatively affect a person’s life.
Unlike other forms of autism, there isn’t a significant delay in language development as a young child for those with AS. Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are often of average to very high intelligence.
How does it develop?
It is strongly believed that Asperger’s Syndrome is genetic, but the specific gene related to it has not been identified. The physiology behind it is still hotly debated, and there are many theories as to what part of the brain is responsible for its symptoms. In fact, it has yet to be determined what physiological mechanisms distinguish AS from other forms of autism.
Because of this, the DSM-5, the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, has dropped Asperger’s Syndrome as a specific diagnosis. Instead, all forms of autism are classified under the general title of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This highly controversial change considers the unaccounted-for difference of physiology and allows for those who meet some, but maybe not all, of the qualifications of AS to be treated, though there is some worry that higher functioning Aspies may fall out of the diagnostic spectrum.
As you can see, there is still a lot to be learned about Asperger’s Syndrome. But increasing awareness de-stigmatizes it and hopefully leads to more diagnoses. And more documented cases leads to more information to learn from and help better understand this condition.
Medications Used for Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder on the autism spectrum, is often comorbid with other conditions. Asperger’s is not directly medicated, but rather, the concurrent symptoms are. These can be anxiety and repetitive behaviors, aggression, and the inability to pay attention. Depending on which symptoms someone with Asperger’s Syndrome experiences will help their doctor determine which medications would be the most beneficial to that individual.
There are different kinds of anxiety associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. Those diagnosed with Asperger’s might also show symptoms of Social Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or General Anxiety Disorder. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can not only help with depression and anxiety, but can help patients control repetitive behaviors. Fluvoxamine, Olanzapine, and Naltrexone have all been shown to help people OCD and repetitive behaviors. Common side effects include restlessness, weight gain, and an increase in blood sugar levels.
Often a person with Asperger’s Syndrome cannot express how they are feeling and instead may come across as having irritability and aggression. One medication that has been found to help with this is Risperidone. Although it is considered an atypical antipsychotic, some patients with Asperger’s Syndrome have found that it is helpful for irritability and aggression, especially when these symptoms are caused by difficulties socializing. Side effects include to these are similar to SSRIs but can also include drowsiness and an increase in appetite.
There are many different kinds of medications used to help those with attention problems. Guanfacine has been used to help children with hyperactivity and other attention problems. Guanfacine has also been shown to affect behavioral inhibition allowing the child to become less impulsive. Lisdexamfetamine is a stimulant commonly prescribe for ADHD. It affects the central nervous system which can contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Atomoxetine, which is not a stimulant, has also been used as an effective therapy for ADHD. Once again, there are similar side effects to these medications but may also include bed wetting and constipation.
It seems that no matter which symptoms someone with Asperger’s Syndrome may have, there is a medication that has been shown to be successful. Along with nutrition and therapy, medications can be essential in living a happy and healthy life. It is important to remember that, while there may be positive effects from these medications, they all run the risk of potential and unwanted side effects. Like always, discuss with you doctor any and all changes in your physical and emotional well-being.
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Asperger’s Syndrome : Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Learn about what are the characteristics of a person with Aspergers? How is Asperger’s different from autism? What is Asperger’s syndrome in adults? What causes Asperger’s syndrome? Can a person with Asperger’s Fall in Love? What is Aspergers called now? Terms related to Asperger’s Syndrome
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