Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Treatment for Asperger's disorder (the nitty gritty)

Yesterday I was discussing having Asperger's with a group of people, and the topic of medication came up.  The simple question is:  Are there medications specifically designed for treating people with Asperger's?

The simple answer is, no. Autism, no matter where you are on the spectrum, isn't something that can be cured or controlled through medication.  That being said, however, there are many drugs that can be prescribed to treat the symptoms of Asperger's, which are detailed in the excellent Mayo Clinic page on the subject.  SSRIs can be used to help control the repetitive movements as well as help anxiety, for example, and stimulants (much as would be prescribed for ADHD or ADD) can help the Autistic person to remain focused on a task.  I don't take any medication, but my psychiatrist has suggested that I might consider an SSRI and has a prescription for me whenever I might choose to fill it. 

So, how do you treat Asperger's?  Training, training, training, and practice in social skills, behavioral and educational intervention, psychotherapy, and similar treatments that depend on the severity of the symptoms and each individual's manifestation of the disorder.  What it all comes down to is practice, and training, and learning by rote.  We Aspies have to learn to recognize social cues, body language, general diplomatic social mores (this was and still is my particular difficulty) and a myriad of other things with the same difficulty as if learning a foreign language, and this just takes discipline and practice.  It's a tough road to follow, but it is possible.  I did it, with the erudite mom guiding me every step of the way.  Neither of us knew at the time that I had Asperger's or that she was doing exactly the right thing to train me to handle it and to be a productive, educated, and competent individual, but through the grace of God that is exactly what happened.  


  1. My cousins with Autism/Asperger's take anti-anxiety meds, and they both did tons of therapy and special education while they were growing up. They were both diagnosed very young though.