Should specialists treat addicts in a similar manner to how they treat patients with autism spectrum disorders? According to recent studies conducted by an Oregon-based pediatrician, the answer may be a resounding “yes.” Based on a case study conducted at a private treatment center, patients suffering from a form of addiction may fall under the category of “spectrum disorders,” similarly to people suffering from autism. Even more interesting, further analysis showcased that certain addicts may require lighter or more rigorous forms of treatment, depending on a variety of factors including genetics and temperaments. So why are forms of therapy for autistic patients potentially valuable to addicts? Let’s take a closer look.
Comparing Autism Spectrum with “Addiction Spectrum”
Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a class of behavioral disorders characterized by problems with socializing and communicating. Some widely known forms include autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified), and childhood disintegrative disorder. All forms, in some way, greatly impact the brain and stifle a person’s control over movement, communication, and emotions.
Addiction is a behavioral disease that occurs when a person becomes chemically dependent and completely reliant on a substance (e.g. heroin, opium, crystal meth, marijuana, and alcohol). People will develop a dangerous impulse to continue consuming the drug, despite negative repercussions. As a result, their movement, emotions, and ability to communicate may be impaired. Long-term drug use can ultimately lead to learning impairment and poor memory.
Experiments with Autism Therapy
Much like established genetic disorders, the study argues that addicts suffer from a mixture of issues, particularly variables in their genes and stress factors in certain environments. While some people may be able to drink excessively and successfully break their nasty habit, people who fall under the predisposition for “addiction spectrum,” may (for example) live in an abusive household and resort to alcohol as a filler (not realizing the genetic predetermination for alcoholism).
In this sense, you may easily be able to make the comparison. Based on this theory, both autism and addiction are marked by drastic problems with behavior and communication, which gradually deteriorate over a long period of time.
Further analysis through the Oregon study found that the children of recovering addicts reacted successfully to a controlled form of mindfulness training and emotional regulation, similar to occupational therapy for autistic children. Additionally, applied behavior analysis (ABA) helped these children face the grim truth about addiction and form an aversion to using drugs (4 out of 5 successful tests).
Always remember that drugs do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a form of drug addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug abuse or addiction troubles today.