Autism and epilepsy often go hand in hand. In fact, as many as an estimated 1/3 of people with autism also suffer from epileptic seizures. If you are the parent of an autistic child, there is a good chance that you will have to learn about epilepsy as you navigate your way through your child's treatments. Working with a neurologist to find the right seizure medication for your child is your first and most important step in managing your child's seizures. While traditional medicine is often quite successful at treating seizures related to autism, it can be difficult to find which treatment will be most effective in helping your child manage his or her epilepsy. Working with a doctor, you may want to consider other less-traditional treatments for your child's seizures. Here are some of the alternative seizure treatments that are available to autistic patients.
THC/Hemp: THC is the active chemical in marijuana and hemp. Marijuana and hemp are becoming more mainstream treatments for many different illnesses, including epilepsy and seizure disorder. Experts recommend hemp oil and other marijuana-related treatments for children with autism-related seizures that have not been controllable through traditional medications. While these treatments are still experimental, the side effects are minimal and can be a good alternative for people looking for new treatments for their seizures.
Diet: A Ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, high fat diet that has been used to treat epilepsy since 1920. Ketogenic diets are a huge commitment for parents and families with an autistic child because it usually requires major changes in the way that your child eats. However, many families find these sacrifices to be worth it because ketogenic diets have been shown to cause major improvements in autism and epilepsy. Avoiding sugar, caffeine, and other highly-processed foods can also be helpful in managing seizures, although these effects are mostly anecdotal. To find out what are your child's seizure triggers, you should work with your child's doctor to adjust or examine his or her diet.
Vitamins: Many doctors use high doses of vitamins to treat epilepsy, as well as to combat the side effects from ongoing treatment with traditional medicines. For example, many epilepsy medications cause a decrease in bone density over time, so many doctors choose to supplement these medication with vitamin D, which helps with bone density. Since each vitamin has its own effect, it is important to work with a doctor to determine which vitamins would be best for your child.
With a little persistence and medical guidance, you will be able to determine which treatments are most likely to help your child manage his or her autism.