A lot of you know my stance on medicating certain autism symptoms such as anxiety and seeming depression. My stance came after YEARS of trying various medications that numbed me to the point of stupid because they interfered with my clarity and ability to think quickly, or actually INCREASED anxiety and sleeplessness and in several, also made me suicidal. Because I wasnever diagnosis with Aspergers, it was PTSD and Anxiety and Depression although I often conveyed I wasn't depressed. I'll also add that no one was interested in WHY I felt this way or of environmental changes to help me. It was strictly medicate her-we don't know what to do with her. Apparently at too large of doses.
Here is what Temple says on it, from http://www.autism-help.org/story-autism-inside-view.htm and I found this very interesting:
In the next section, I am going to describe my experiences with medication. There are many Autism subtypes, and a medication that works for me may be useless for another case. Parents of autistic children should obtain medical advice from professionals who are knowledgeable of the latest medical research.
I read in the medical library that antidepressant drugs such as Tofranil (Imipramine) were effective for treating patients with endogenous anxiety and panic (Sheehan, Beh, Ballenger, & Jacobsen, 1980). The symptoms described in this paper sounded like my symptoms, so I decided to try Tofranil. Fifty mg of Tofranil at bedtime worked like magic. Within a week, the feelings of nervousness started to go away. After being on Tofranil for four years I switched to 50 mg Norpramin (desipramine), which has fewer side effects. These pills have changed my life. Colitis and other stress-related health problems were cured.
Dr. Paul Hardy in Boston has found that Tofranil and Prozac (fluoxetine) are both effective for treating certain high-functioning autistic adolescents and adults. Both Dr. Hardy and Dr. John Ratey (personal communication, 1989) have learned that very small doses of these drugs must be used. These doses are usually much lower than the dose prescribed for depression. Too high a dose can cause agitation, aggression, or excitement, and too low a dose will have no effect. My "nerve" attacks would go in cycles, and I have had relapses while on the drug. It took will power to stick with the 50 mg dose and let the relapse subside on its own.
Taking the medicine is like adjusting the idle screw on a car's carburetor. Before taking the drug, the engine was racing all the time. Now it runs at normal speed. I no longer fixate, and I am no longer "driven." Prozac and Anafranil (clomipramine) have been very effective in autistics who have obsessive-compulsive symptoms or obsessive thoughts which race through their heads. The effective doses for Prozac have ranged from two 20 mg capsules per week to 40 mg per day. Too high a dose will cause agitation and excitement. If an autistic person becomes agitated the dose should be lowered. Other promising drugs for aggressive autistic adolescents and adults are beta blockers. Beta blockers greatly reduce aggressive behavior (Ratey et al., 1987).
During the eight years I have been taking antidepressants, there has been a steady improvement in my speech, sociability, and posture. The change was so gradual that I did not notice it. Even though I felt relief from the "nerves" immediately, it takes time to unlearn old behavior patterns.
Within the last year, I had an opportunity to visit an old friend who had known me before I started taking antidepressants. My friend, Billie Hart, told me I was a completely different person. She said I used to walk and sit in a hunched-over position and now my posture is straight. Eye contact had improved and I no longer shifted around in my chair. I was also surprised to learn that I no longer seemed to be out of breath all the time, and I had stopped constantly swallowing.
Various people I have met at Autism meetings have seen steady improvement in my speech and mannerisms throughout the eight-year period I have taken the medicines. My old friend, Lorna King, also noticed many changes. "Your speech used to seem pressured, coming in almost explosive bursts. Your old tendency to perseverate is gone" (Grandin & Scariano, 1986).
I had a odd lack of awareness of my oddities of speech and mannerisms until I looked at videotapes. I think videotapes could be used to help many high-functioning autistics with speech and social skills.