Why medications can be risky for patients with autism

Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a wide range of conditions where an individual may have challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. Medication is one of the treatment choices for those on the spectrum. But did you know that some medications may pose risks for patients?

Child taking vitamins

A study has found that children with autism who take drugs for anxiety, depression or inattention, have a higher risk of obesity compared to unmedicated children with autism. To be more specific, the researchers found that mood stabilizers increase the chances of obesity by 40 percent. On the other hand, antipsychotic drugs like risperidone are said to have an almost 20 percent increase in obesity prevalence. Drugs used to treat hyperactivity and inattention can have minimal effects on body weight.

To manage the side effects of these conditions on autistic individuals, doctors advise their patients to exercise and eat mindfully and healthily. However, these recommendations can also be challenging for those with autism so doctors prescribe more medication to manage their conditions.

It is best however that children practice healthy living habits. After all, prevention is still better than cure.

Exercise, or increased physical activity is recommended for children with autism. There have been results of improved social and communication skills of youth who had physical activity programs that were specifically designed for individuals with autism. These activities also give them opportunities to socialize with peers and practice social skills.

Youth who are on the spectrum also bettered their muscular strength and endurance by doing various physical activities including exergaming, swimming, and horseback riding. These activities can improve muscular strength and endurance, which is said to be a challenge for patients with autism.

Patients with autism may also struggle with balance, body coordination, visual-motor control, and other mobility skills. Specially-designed science-based movements can possibly improve these skills for them. Their gross and fine motor skills like catching and throwing, reading and writing, balancing and jumping can also be bettered with these science-based movements.

Child playing in small gym

Photo of one of our clients doing Neuro-fit sessions.

LifeScience Center offers a Neuro-fit program that is suitable for kids on the spectrum. It’s a system-based approach that can help improve their brain connectivity as well as physical coordination and motor skills. It is the first of its kind in the country, and is the only service that uses movement to facilitate a holistic change to address cognitive, emotional, and motor concerns all in one program. It can also help kids with ADHD, and sensory integration concerns.

For more information, contact us and directly speak with our Neuro-fit coaches.

Side effects of meds weigh heavily on children with autism. Spectrum. (2017, October 30). Retrieved December 2, 2021
Autism and exercise: Special benefits. Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2021


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