Autism: Diet and Relaxation

Introduction

Western medicine has successfully been used in treatment of various medical conditions, saving the lives of many in the process. However, its success in some medical conditions, for example, autism and AIDS and obesity, has been wanting due to the inability to bring wellness to patients. These serious health issues have often lowered the self-esteem of victims, and to some extremes damage their social life, for example, autism. Nonetheless, there are several therapies of alternative treatment which have been productive in guiding such patients in the healing process. Conversely, there are possible dangers which may be experienced in the process of healing.

Inherent and ecological factors have been implicated as the causes of autism (Arnold, Hyman, Kirby & Mooney, 2003). The absence of established forms of western medicine necessitated supporters of CAM medicine to recommend explanations for treatment based on dietary requirements and relaxation.

Diet

Human beings require certain essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the body. A balanced diet comprising greens, amino acids and fruits provide the necessary nutrients to maintain physical and mental health. Individuals with autistic traits have common allergens. Gluten, commonly found in wheat and barley, and casein which is present in virtually all dairy products are the cause of these allergens. Certain compounds gluten and casein can bind to receptors in the brain, negatively effecting body functions.

Exploration studies have been conducted to determine the value of casein/gluten free diets as an intercession to improve cognitive and social functioning of autism patients. The premise of this form of treatment is that victims have a ‘leaky gut’ which results in the absorption of materials that distress the endogenous opiate structure. The results of these studies have shown a significant reduction in autistic traits (Calver, Connell-Jones, Ferriter, Millward, 2004). There are enzymes which are necessary in breaking down peptide from food that individuals consume. Lack of these digestive enzymes results in effects which impair the brain functioning.

The impairments of autism, characterized by social disorders, persist from childhood to old age. Nutritional interventions do not help every autistic child, but it has significantly helped thousands in the recovery process (Bellows & Potts, ND). In some children, taking gluten/casein free diets show visible results within 1-3 months, while in some the condition worsens before improvements are evidenced.

Relaxation

Autism is a composite condition characterized by the victim’s lack of understanding of what the society expects from them. This confusion results in anxiety, stress and depression as they cannot maintain meaningful relationships with their peers. This emotional state does not allow them to think and behave logically, thus the need for relaxation therapy.

Engaging in recreational activities like sports, relaxation and travelling may be valuable in improving the condition of autistic victims (Baron, 2006). These activities help alleviate stress in both the individual and their family.

Relaxation has several benefits, ranging from observable advantages like reducing anxiety and clearing the mind to ensure positive thoughts, to complex tasks like lowering the blood pressure and heart rate (Adams, Edelson, Grandin & Rimland, 2004). It increases the ability to think clearly, improves energy levels, and consequently fosters the individual’s creative nature. Composure in personality and improved health are the accompanying results.

Conclusion

The two therapies discussed above have been valuable in the lives of several autistic patients. However, their combination with modern medicine will ensure a smoother healing process, and produce substantial benefits. Speech therapy, physical therapy, sensory integration and relevant educational programs are indeed necessary to complement the CAM therapies. Autism is an ethereal disorder, and thus the success of some form of treatment on a patient does not necessarily mean the same results will be observed in another victim. People must thus consult specialists and physicians for medical advice on how best to treat an individual case.

References

Adams, J., Edelson, S., Grandin, T., & Rimland, B. ( 2004). Advice for parents of young autistic children (2004): working paper. Autism today. Web.

Arnold, G., Hyman, S., Kirby, R. & Mooney, R. (2003). plasma amino acids profile in children with autism: potential risks of nutritional deficiencies. Springerlink: journal of autism and development disorders. Web.

Baron, G. (2006). Stress and coping in autism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bellows, B. & Potts, M. (ND). Speaker’s corner. Web.

Calver, S., Connell-Jones, G., Ferriter, M. Millward, C. (2004). Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 2. Art.

No.: CD003498. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003498.pub2. Web.

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