Aspergers and Anxiety

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ..Amy.., Oct 20, 2011.

  1. ..Amy..

    ..Amy.. New Member

    My son(4) was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. We discussed different methods to approach his treatment. one was to treat him for the anxiety first, in hopes that it would help us to recognize what causes it, and how we can help him to deal with it. Then in turn, we can help with other things he may be having issues with. This will also help to see what behaviors are triggered by anxiety.

    The Dr. and I discussed different approaches and decided that medication may be the best bet for this moment. We talked about different medications. Clonapin, Prozac, and intuniv. We opted for the intuniv.

    Does anyone else have any experience with this medication for just anxiety? Or with Aspergers and anxiety? Good, or bad?

    Thank you! Amy
  2. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    difficult child 2 has used Zoloft to calm his anxiety in the past. Right now he isn't on any medications, but if his anxiety creeps up he'll probably go back on it.

    Sorry, I haven't had experience with that medication yet.
  3. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member


    First of all, welcome.

    My son does not have Aspergers--well, I should say he hasn't been diagnosis. LOL

    But he does take Intuniv. For his ADHD. He doesn't take a stimulant with it. I have not noticed any glaring side effects. But I also haven't seen any major improvement. Of course we are on several medications and have made several recent changes also.

    What has seemed to help Carson's anxiety, actually, was the anti depressant... or it helped his depression enough to give him self esteem enough to push through some of his anxiety. Like, he isn't hiding under his desk any more, or chewing his shirt or running into the parking lot. He still has anxiety. He has wet his pants at school 4 times since school started. He NEVER has accidents at home.

    Carson's doctor really didn't want to use Prozac or a medicine like it. They are all so habit forming. And Carson has been on medicine in the past that can give him a "zombie effect". So we decided not for us right now.

    This medicine business is tricky. And I hate that is is so trial and error.

    Good luck to you. It's late here but there will be some wonderful women give you advice. You are in a place of comfort and support.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    My son uses Clonidine...both that and Intuniv (which is long acting tenex i think right??) are blood pressure medications that have an effect of calming for some people. For my son with Autism, who has extreme anxiety...(it is the thing that triggers most everything else because when he is anxious he can't access what he needs to think thru things or stop impulses)... Anyway for him it is the magic answer for most of his aggression. It does not take the anxiety away but he copes better. Using Ritalin helps him with his impulsive issues. Prozac helps the anxiety a tiny bit, but mostly helped him access normal emotions (he rarely cried, smiled, laughed, anything...he started giving hugs and saying I love you on Prozac, but the anxiety, still an issue). Turns out he was having seizures nearly all day and night and they are the kind that affect feelings and behaivor so....working on getting those in better control. If I had to get rid of everything and keep one medication....I might have to say the Clonidine is the keeper....
    We are considering switching to Tenex/Intuniv in case it will give us more coverage at a lower dose (mine is on a huge dose of clonidine....more than any adult they have)...but we would do that in summer.

    As a mom who has had to deal with a lot of medications and trying things and having terrible reactions etc.... I would highly suggest you do not start any medications until you have at least a weekend, if not a longer break (like wait till thanksgiving break) to try a new medication or to increase doses. You want to be able to watch for any side effects or negative reactions at home first.

    welcome to the board...tell us more about your guy! it is great to get to know you...
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    Hello and welcome!

    Are you sure it was Clonopin? Out of the three you listed, in my opinion the Intuiv is the best choice, especially considering your son's age. I've only had experience with Prozac and it was not good, but have researched the others.

    Good Luck to you!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    I have a son on the autism spectrum who has just turned eighteen so we've had a lot of experience here with the disorder. I am wondering what sort of doctor is recommending the medications as the first line of treatment? in my opinion that isn't a good idea, using that treatment first. in my opinion he should be given Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interventions (Occupational Therapist (OT) for senosry issues, social skills training, accomodations at school and in the community). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) causes kids to have high anxiety, but they are less apt to respond to anxiety medication than kids who have psychiatric problems. They kind of need to learn how to transition and gradually to handle crowds, new people, heck LIFE. I don't mind medications, but not as the only treatment. Anxiety is a big part of the bigger picture...autistic spectrum disorder. There are symptoms of a lot of disorders with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including ADHD and moodswings.

    Is your pediatrician treating him or do you have a psychiatrist? Has he ever seen an autism specialist? You are free to treat it any way you see fit, of course, but in my opinion interventions works the best as a first line of treatment. My son was on and off medications. He is only on Vyanese right now. Through the years, his anxiety (though still there in new situations and when meeting new people) has tempered down so that he can at least function in those situations. He has learned many social skills as well.

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can be very sensitive to medication so if y ou go that route watch him carefully. My son had trouble on stimulants when he was young...they made him aggressive and mean, and he is not like that. Prozac made him almot psychotic. He heard voices that told him to jump off his desk at school. We throw out the Prozac...this behavior or symptom has never returned and he was six at the time.

    I wish you luck, whatever you decide to do and please keep us posted!
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    If your son has had no interventions I would have to actually agree with Midwestern Mom. The times my son has reacted badly to medications are rough. My son has a brain injury so other issues require him to be on medications, but even so...we always go he behavior route first...

    As I said in the first post I made, really nothing has helped his anxiety-that is that he always feels anxiety-- thru the medication route. Every single medication except his Concerta (which I believe increases anxiety and crabbiness, but it is not an option for safety to stop it right now) has been chosen because it is a medication that helps people with anxiety too. Even his seizure medications. He has such severe behaviors that there was no way to work a behavior plan or teach relaxation until the medications were on board. So, medications have helped with the effects of his anxiety. When he was younger we did biofeedback (youngest patient ever and the therapy clinic was connected to his charter school so he went over during school and in class they felt it made a huge difference), light sound therapy, auditory integration therapy, Occupational Therapist (OT), we use sensory tools like swings, balls, squish vests, weighted vests, weighted blankets, etc He uses them at school every single day. He also participates in relaxation groups at school with the psychologist and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) teacher (all high functioning verbal Autism and Asperger's kids) , they do deep breathing and practice pretend upsets then going to a wall to do "wall-ups" and other relaxation techniques for when they are really upset. These things along with his behavior plan and work on using words for feelings have made the biggest impact on his anxiety.

    Many of the methods in the Explosive Child book are constants in our life too....we really pick and choose battles. He knows which things we are really working on (most of the time, and if outside forces dont interfere, aka administration that expects him to just pull it ALL together)...

    So to say what to start with first???? Of course it is nice if they dont need medications, sometimes they just need medications to get thru a hump (if they work) so you can teach the cognitive/behavioral types of things, and sometimes they need both.... But I have never ever worked with a child who just "got better" on medications. I am sure you are not planning that alone, please dont misunderstand....and I am sure there are a couple out there who have milder symptoms who do respond well to medications only... but by the very nature of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspergers, they need direct teaching to help work thru anxiety, feelings in general, and social issues.

    As usual, smile, JMHO!
  8. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member son has been diagnosed a few months ago....His anxiety was vey bad....the psychiatrist said to first put him on medications for his anxiety because that will make him a bit more 'flexible' and acceptable to other interventions like Occupational Therapist (OT) and social skill training.
    At first he did VERY bad on Risperdal, he became VERY aggitated and aggressive, switched to Tofrinal...made him vomit and gave him musscle cramps.
    Then she put him on Cyprelex, a new type of SSRI, antidepressant...has almost no side effects...he is so much better.
    The Occupational Therapist (OT), together with medications , more appropriate parenting skills and adjustments in class, worked wonders! We also got a spandex hammoc that he often uses to calm himself down, it gives him a 'womb space', with deep muscle pressure and also helps him to modulate his mood.....he is also allowed to chew hard bubble gum in class to help with modulation.
    Hang in there....I thought our lives has been turned upside down, but with good support and therapy live can actually gain some normallity again!!!!
  9. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I completely agree with the others. My son has been on various medications to help with the anxiety and they have actually caused his aggression and frustration to get worse. Like MWM said, kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) seem to have different reactions to many medications than the "typical" kid. Tread carefully and be VERY observant.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, interventions for autism spectrum disorder are not behavioral. They are helpful interventions to help a very "differently wired" child deal with sensory issues, motor skills problems, speech and language issues (including the art of conversation), fear and transitioning. Without them, the child will have a much harder time becoming more like other kids, whether or not he is on medication. I really wonder if this particular doctor knows that much about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Sounds almost like a pediatrician...It is rare to treat Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with medications and nothing else.
  11. keepongoing

    keepongoing Guest

    My son has Aspergers. We started out trying adhd medications (Concerta and Ritalin) but he would go into hourlong almost psychotic meltdowns while taking them. His doctor said that while most kids on the spectrum have attention issues only a subgroup resonds well to adhd medications and for the others it increases their anxiety. We held off until he was 9 before trying anything else. At that time he was really anxious all the time and we finally gave a low dose of Prozac a try. I know it does not work for every kid but for my son it has done wonders. School was about to put him in a self-contained class and at home he was isolating and yelling at siblings not to talk to him.Occupational Therapist (OT) and social skills classes were not working, actually he got kicked out because of his meltdowns. Withing three days of taking prozac (unusual - usually it takes 6 weeks ) he came out of his room and wanted to socialize again and he is now succesfully mainstreamed for 3/4th of his school day. Anxiety medication has allowed him to respond to the other interventions (Occupational Therapist (OT), social skills, school).
    medications by themselves won't 'treat' a kid on the spectrum it can help calm the anxiety enough for them to be able to resond to interventions. Most kids will go through some trial and error of what medication works for them.
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I think I know what you are really saying, Midwest Mom, but just to clarify.... I agree, it is highly important to work on underlying issues like sensory issues, language deficits, etc. But with sincere respect, behavioral methods are a HUGE part of working with kids with Autism. In the strict sense of changing behaviors, building behavioral skills (behavior meaning things we do or do not do) many people on the spectrum need direct teaching of how to do behaviors. They dont pick up skills just by being around people like neuro-typicals. ABA most famously used by Lovaas is a highly respected method of working with people with Autism. It has its major problems and I would never choose it as a stand alone therapy (no treatment for that matter should be used alone) but it definately helps kids to learn skills and can make the difference between a child just being in a setting or participating in a setting. Other examples are using social stories, role plays, using visual schedules and organizers to help modify behavior, etc. Again they of course work on the underlying "wiring" issues either by going around them, building new pathways, or learning how to live with the challenges they bring. But learning to stop inappropriate behaviors and to use appropriate behaviors is really important in Autism treatment (MHO)

    ABA - What is ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis Click this article for overview of ABA-applied behavior analysis

    There are many many more. It doesn't mean that all kids need this, just that a big part of most autism treatment programs and school autism programs is to work on behaviors along with working on the underlying issues. Only bringing it up so as not to confuse anyone new to this.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, ok, buddy. I agree with you there. I thought you meant behavior such as behavioral charts for being "good."
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    nope...100% with you on that!
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Amy. My son has Asperger's and he uses clonidine and Imiprimene. I have not heard of the medication you mentioned so I will be reading with-interest as you progress. I am assuming that you are doing behavior modification and other interventions in addition and that you just forgot to mention it.
    You've gotten so much feedback from so many here, all I can do is say "Welcome" and offer support.