Autism Treatment for Adults

Autism Treatment for Adults, Signs of High-Functioning Autism in Adults, Diagnosis of Autism in Adults, Types of Therapies for Autism

Autism treatment for adults

Even if you weren’t diagnosed with autism as a child, you may notice the symptoms of high-functioning autism in later life. Here’s what to look for and how to deal with a diagnosis.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life [1].

 We all have our peculiarities and quirks. However, if you’ve noticed that your way of thinking, feeling, or doing things isn’t quite the norm, you may suspect that you have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even though you never received a diagnosis as a child.

Autism treatment for adults
No matter how you feel after a diagnosis, keep in mind that, just like everyone else, you have unique strengths and weaknesses. You can always take additional steps to understand your behaviors and thoughts and grow as a person.

Maybe your body language, social skills, behaviors, or general preferences don’t seem to correspond to those around you? Or perhaps you have a child who was recently diagnosed with autism, and you recognize some of the same issues in your own way of behaving?

In recent years, more individuals are adopting the idea of neurodiversity—the idea that some individuals have neurological differences and those differences should be respected rather than “corrected”. Still, a diagnosis of autism as a grown-up can come as an undesirable shock. You may even experience anxiety or denial over the diagnosis. On the other hand, if you’ve long doubted that you have ASD or some other condition that sets you separated from your peers, a diagnosis can come as a solace. Unexpectedly, a lot of your past interactions and experiences make sense, and you’re given a sense of clarity.

The goal of autism treatment for adults is to help them live happily and fulfilled lives. Most adults with autism struggle because they have been misunderstood all their lives. Often, they don’t even understand themselves. “Why am I so clumsy?” Or “Why don’t I like to be with people, or go shopping, or go to movies?” Or  “Why is it so hard for me to stick with things?” Or “Why do I feel so sluggish and unmotivated?”

Understanding follows once autism treatment for adults is administered to address their sensory issues. With direct autism treatment for adults, such as occupational therapy or listening therapy, changes in how sensation is perceived occur. During autism treatment for adults, strategies can be identified for avoiding or decreasing the intensity of those relationships and situations that cause failure and lead to anxiety and depression. Sensory techniques for a home can be taught.

Signs of high-functioning autism in adults

Autism in general has a wide range of signs and symptoms, even if you narrow the scope down to “high functioning” autism. Autism signs and symptoms in adults tend to be most noticeable in your emotional and behavioral patterns, communication skills, interests, and sensitivity to stimuli, such as touch and noise.

Problems with communication

If you’re an adult with autism (ASD), you might have a challenging time reading social signals. This can include everything from another person’s facial expressions to their tone of voice or gestures, making it hard to maintain back-and-forth discussions or tell what another individual is feeling. Sarcasm and figures of speech can be especially problematic to detect.

In addition, you might also use a monotone voice or have very limited facial expressions, which causes difficulty for others to analyze your feelings and thoughts. Eye contact may be another meaningful social signal that you struggle with. Maybe you’ve been told you look away too frequently during conversations or even stare.

Autism Treatment for Adults
Diagnosing ASD in adults is often more difficult than diagnosing ASD in children. In adults, some ASD symptoms can overlap with symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Narrow interests

Everyone has their own interests. But adults with autism usually focus on one or two subjects that they find highly engrossing. For example, you may have a comprehensive or encyclopedic knowledge of a historical event or movie series.

While it’s often unique to others, it may restrict the amount you feel you can contribute to discussions beyond your favorite subjects. Trying to connect to people who don’t understand your interests may feel incredibly challenging or tedious. It might even lead you to avoid social interactions.

Repetitive behavior

Keeping items organized or maintaining a consistent routine can help you feel that your life is predictable and secure. On the other hand, you may experience discomfort when your rituals and daily routine are interrupted, such as someone moving your belongings so they’re now out of place or having to take a new route to work. You might feel so resentful that you have an explosion of strong emotions such as anger.

Sensory issues

To a person with ASD, certain feelings can be painful. For example, if someone taps you on the arm, you may feel discomfort, or certain smells, sounds, or textures may produce a similar unpleasant reaction. In some cases, you may do everything you can to avoid that pain.

Diagnosis of autism in adults

Currently, there are no standard diagnostic criteria for adults with presumed ASD, but they are in development.

In the meantime, clinicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists primarily diagnose adults with autism through a series of in-person interactions and observations. They also take into consideration any symptoms the individual reports experiencing.

If you’re interested in being diagnosed or evaluated for autism (ASD), begin with your family doctor, who will evaluate you to be certain that there isn’t an underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your physician may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for in-depth assessment.

The clinician will want to talk with you about any issues you have regarding emotions, communication, behavioral patterns, range of interests, and more. You’ll answer questions about your childhood, and your clinician might request to speak with your parents or other older family members to acquire their perspectives about your lifelong behavior patterns.

If the diagnostic criteria for children are being used for reference, your clinician can ask your parent questions from that list, relying on their memories of you as a child for further information.

If your clinician resolves that you didn’t display symptoms of ASD in childhood, but instead began experiencing symptoms as an adult, you may be evaluated for other possible mental health or affective disorders.

Because most autism diagnoses are made in children, it could be a challenge to find a provider who will diagnose adults.

Inpatient treatment for adults with autism

Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) display a wide range of intellectual and language abilities, experiences, strengths, and levels of functioning. Many individuals with autism can be treated in home and community settings. However, the need for pharmacological and intensive behavioral autism treatment for adults in the clinic setting may be needed.

The Autism Inpatient Treatment Center is designed to care for adults who are showing treatment-resistant and severe behavioral disorders such as aggression and self-harm, or who have undergone a decline in their usual level of psychiatric functioning. As the highest level of care, inpatient mental health treatment is most suitable for adults who have exhausted available care in the community and are in acute behavioral situations.

Types of therapies for autism

Applied behavior analysis

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of the most commonly used therapy options for adults with ASD. It refers to a series of procedures developed to encourage positive behaviors using a reward system.

There are several types of ABA, including:

Discrete trial training. This process uses a series of trials to motivate step-by-step learning. Correct behaviors and answers are rewarded, and mistakes are ignored.

Early intensive behavioral intervention. Adults work one-on-one with a therapist or in a small group. It’s usually done over the course of several years to help a person develop communication skills and reduce problematic behaviors, including self-harm or aggression.

Pivotal response training. This is a strategy used in an everyday environment that teaches a person with ASD pivotal skills, such as the motivation to learn or initiate communication.

Verbal behavior intervention. A therapist works with the client to help them understand why and how humans use language to communicate better and get things they need.

Positive behavior support. This involves making environmental changes to the home or classroom in order to make good behavior feel more rewarding.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can be effective in helping adults with ASD. During CBT sessions, individuals learn about the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This may help to identify the feelings and thoughts that trigger negative behaviors.

Social skills training

Social skills training (SST) is a way for adults to develop social skills. For some individuals with autism, interacting with others is very tough. This can lead to many challenges over time.

Someone undergoing SST learns basic social skills, including how to understand humor, carry on a conversation, and read emotional signals. 

Sensory integration therapy

People with ASD are sometimes unusually affected by sensory input, such as sound, sight, or smell. Social integration therapy is founded on the theory that having some of your senses heightened makes it hard to learn and display positive behaviors. SIT tries to even out an individual’s response to sensory stimulation and it’s usually done by an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) is a field of healthcare that focuses on teaching individuals the fundamental skills they need in everyday life. 

For adults, OT focuses on developing independent living skills, such as cleaning, cooking, and handling money.

Speech therapy

Speech therapy teaches verbal skills that can help individuals with ASD communicate better. It’s usually done with either an occupational therapist or a speech-language pathologist. It can help individuals improve the rate and rhythm of their speech, in addition to using words correctly. It can also help adults improve how they communicate thoughts and feelings.

Autism Treatment for Adults
More males than females are diagnosed with autism (although there is mounting evidence to suggest that girls and women are underdiagnosed). 

ASD Medications

There aren’t any specific medications specifically developed to treat ASD. However, several medications used for other conditions that may occur with autism might help with specific symptoms.

Medications used to help manage autism fall into a few main categories:

Antipsychotics. Some newer antipsychotic medications may help with self-harm, aggression, and behavioral problems in adults with ASD. The FDA recently approved the us

Antidepressants. While many individuals with ASD take antidepressants, researchers aren’t yet sure whether they actually help with autism symptoms. Still, they may be valuable for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anxiety in adults with ASD.

Stimulants. Stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), are typically used to treat ADHD, but they may also help with overlapping autism symptoms, including hyperactivity and inattention. 

Anticonvulsants. Some people with ASD also have epilepsy, so antiseizure medications are sometimes prescribed.

Support for adults with ASD

Adults aren’t generally given the same support as children with ASD. Sometimes adults with ASD may be treated with verbal, cognitive, and applied behavioral therapy. More often, you’ll need to seek out specific support based on the challenges you’re experiencing (such as social isolation, anxiety, relationship problems, or job difficulties).

Some possibilities include:

  • Seeing a psychiatrist experienced in ASD for medical evaluation
  • Conferring a psychologist or social worker or for individual and therapy group 
  • Getting counseling on an ongoing basis
  • Getting vocational rehabilitation (for career-related difficulties)
  • Taking prescription medication for symptoms like depression anxiety, and behavioral issues that may appear alongside ASD

Many adults with ASD have found support through online forums and groups, as well as by bonding with other adults on the autism spectrum.

Autism tips for daily living

If other individuals have a hard time understanding and reading you—and vice versa—you’ll likely have a problem with relationships. But you can still find ways to foster a healthy social life.

Consider disclosing your diagnosis

Talking about your diagnosis can be challenging, and the social stigma attached to autism may make you shy away from doing so. While the disclosure is completely up to you and your comfort level, it may help improve some relationships. For instance, letting family and close friends know about your diagnosis can help them understand why you have a difficult time interpreting their sarcastic comments or why you’re distressed by sounds that seem ordinary to everyone else.

Note when you’re experiencing sensory overload

Maybe you find it challenging to keep up with everything that’s going on in an intense group discussion. Or perhaps something as simple as la barking dog or loud traffic is bothering you. Do what you can to minimize distractions. This might involve changing rooms or leaving a bigger group for a one-on-one chat.

Look for common ground with the person you’re talking to

Establishing commonalities can lead to more enjoyable and relaxed conversations. If you have matching hobbies, that’s, of course, great news. Otherwise, you can look for other things you both like or dislike. This could be anything from a shared interest in cars to a shared dislike for loud noises.

Reach out to other adults with ASD

You might find that talking with others with autism is less tiring than other interactions. Although every person with autism is different, you share a common ground and can talk about your experiences. Additionally, neither of you will need to focus on reading or presenting social signals in a way that a neurotypical person might expect.

Treatment for autism spectrum disorder in adults

Autism isn’t a disease, and it does not get worse with time as some illnesses do. There is neither a physical nor ethical reason to do anything about it. It’s only when the symptoms affect your quality of life—your health, job, relationships, and so on—that autism treatment for adults may be a good option. 

Autism treatment for adults program is not meant to “cure” your autism. Rather, it’s meant to give you a framework to better understand both your strengths and your challenges.

Treatment for ASD should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. Early autism treatment for adults is important as proper care can reduce individuals’ difficulties while helping them learn new skills and make the most of their strengths.

The wide range of issues facing people with ASD means that there is no single best treatment for ASD. Working closely with a doctor or health care professional is an important part of finding the right treatment program.

Medications for autism treatment for adults

A physician may use medication to treat some symptoms that are common with ASD. With medication, an individual with ASD may have fewer problems with:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention problems
  • Anxiety and depression

Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy for autism treatment for adults

Individuals with ASD may be referred to physicians who specialize in providing psychological, behavioral, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs are typically highly structured and intensive and may involve parents, friends, and other family members. Programs may help people with ASD:

  • Learn life-skills necessary to live independently
  • Reduce challenging behaviors
  • Increase or build upon strengths
  • Learn social, communication, and language skills

Other resources for autism treatment for adults

There are many social services programs and other resources that can help people with ASD. Here are some tips for finding these additional services:

Contact your doctor, local health department, school, or autism advocacy group to learn about special programs or local resources.

Find an autism support group. Sharing information and experiences can help individuals with ASD and/or their caregivers learn about treatment options and ASD-related programs.

Record conversations and meetings with health care providers and teachers. This information helps when it’s time to make decisions about which programs might best meet an individual’s needs.

Keep copies of doctors’ reports and evaluations. This information may help an individual qualify for special programs.

If you or your loved one has ASD or think that you have an undiagnosed ASD, then you need to reach out for professional help. Inpatient autism treatment for adults can become necessary. To learn more, contact us today at the We Level Up FL Treatment Facility; we provide utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We can help provide an enhanced opportunity to return to a fulfilling and productive life.

autism treatment for adults
It’s important to understand that autism treatment for adults doesn’t aim to cure ASD. Instead, they help you address issues such as anxiety, rigid thinking, or depression.

Sources:

[1] NIMH – https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd

[2] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

[3] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4450669/