What tests are there
Indications of autism spectrum disorder are given by various tests. There are self-tests which can be answered by questionnaires at home or together with a psychiatrist or psychologist. The tests focus on empathy and the recognition of emotions.
In addition, stereotypical actions, special talents and giftedness are tested. This also determines the intelligence quotient. Another test is the face test, which shows people with different emotions, such as people who laugh, cry or are angry. Autism patients often cannot interpret emotions correctly, so the disease can be detected.
There are a variety of questionnaires that can reveal an autism spectrum disorder. In addition to self-tests that the patient can fill out at home, there are many questionnaires that parents can fill out for or together with their children, depending on the age of the child. The content of the questionnaires is social behaviour, special talents, stereotypical actions and school performance. There are different questionnaires depending on the age of the child, with different contents.
Treatment and therapy
A cure for autism spectrum disorder is not possible. Through psychotherapeutic therapy and medical treatment of the concomitant diseases, the patients can be enabled to lead a normal life. In the first place is the behavioural therapy, where the patient should recognize his social deficits and learn methods that enable him to have a normal interaction with fellow human beings.
In addition, the patient should be more integrated into his social environment (school, kindergarten, job) through the treatment. Therefore it is important to include close persons like parents or life partners in the therapy. The aim is to enable the patient to lead an independent life.
Clear structures in the daily routine, with exact dates and times help the patients and give them security and peace of mind. Unplanned events often cause conflicts and patients close themselves off from their fellow human beings. A constant daily routine should prevent this and create trust, especially between children and parents.
Symptoms of concomitant diseases are treated according to the patient and their severity. Attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD), for example, can be treated with methylphenidate (Ritalin). If the patient suffers from anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders, antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can be prescribed in combination with psychotherapy. Antipsychotics can relieve schizophrenia.
The disease is usually diagnosed in childhood and a therapy is initiated. There are, however, isolated cases that are not diagnosed until adulthood. Here too, symptoms such as difficult social behaviour, stereotypical actions and special talents are in the foreground.
A lack of empathy causes the patient to have serious problems at work and in relationships. People with autism spectrum disorders can tend to live out their sexual fantasies without regard for their partner. Relationships can thus fail and it can lead to social exclusion.
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