MANIC DEPRESSION AND AUTISM
Following on from my previous article on Rapid Cycling Bipolar in Infancy as an underlying cause of Exposure Anxiety (which I call the invisible cage of involuntary self protection mechanisms) and disturbed language/sensory processing development in ‘autism’, I came across this on an Independant Autism website in the UK.
“Autistic Children who have no apparent neurological basis for their disorders may actually be suffering from an inherited, early-onset form of manic-depression, according to results of two studies conducted at Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, NC. The findings were reported in the May and August 1994 issues of “Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.””
As I see Rapid Cycling Bipolar (which can occur even up to every 40 mins in some people) as one of many but one of the most essential underlying causes of the progressive development of the involuntary self protection response Exposure Anxiety which caused a lifetime of involuntary avoidance, diversion, retaliation responses within my formally diagnosed ‘autism’ (before medication), and as Rapid Cycling Bipolar is so treatable in most cases through small amounts of THE CORRECT and properly monitored medication (and in some cases, such as my own, combined with dietary intervention and nutritional support- not to mention that some folks manage bipolar with omega 3s rather than, or in addition to small amounts of medication), and as untreated Rapid Cycling Bipolar has implications for adrenal function and the impact on gut/immune health (with consequences for impaired ability to keep up with/process the rate of incoming information which often amounts to being monotracked as an adaptation to information overload), these links are certainly worth exploring.
This is not to say this is relevant for all people diagnosed with autism, nor that everyone caught up in this invisible cage of involuntary self protection mechanisms has this as the underlying cause or isn’t happy in their prison/sanctuary, but some who suffer from acute chronic Exposure Anxiety are extremely frustrated and impaired because of it and deserve access to the knowledge out there to make informed choices and those who have never experienced these levels of contortion, imprisonment and frustration cannot deny the rights of others to look for those avenues which might make their lives easier. Once something like Rapid Cycling Bipolar in infancy has already made it’s impact on neurological organisation and development, it’s possible that treatment for an original mood disorder will not take away all of its developmental consequences, but every person is different and for some it may free up the potential of development.
Further to my article about autism and bipolar in my own case, here’s more info on the connection for those for whom it’s relevant. For me the tragedy of this connection is that bipolar in infancy is generally treatable with medication (and from what I’ve read on the web adults with bipolar are also known to supplement minimal doses of medication with omega 3s or deal with it using high doses of omega 3s). As I wrote, I blamed the constant emotional fits in infancy (which happened about 6 times a day) with the progressive encapsulation within the involuntary self protection response of Exposure Anxiety (causing involuntary avoidance, diversion, retaliation responses and having a significant impact on the development of information processing and ‘functional’ communication). Whilst this underlying cause is not that of all people with ‘autism’, if sending this out helps others for whom it is relevant, then that’s great.
MANIC DEPRESSION AND AUTISM
According to a recent study at the Duke University Medical Center, some cases of autism may be associated with a family history of depressive illness. Autism, a disorder marked by social withdrawal and an inability to interact with the environment, seems to appear more frequently in families with a strong history of bipolar illness, the study found.
In connection with his study of 40 autistic children, Duke researcher Dr.Robert DeLong reported in the journal Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology that in 14 of the cases reviewed there was a strong family history of depression or manic depressive illness.
The study hypothesized that when manic depression strikes in early infancy, it may blunt the child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development irreversibly, so that the child’s brain never develops the framework in which to build communications skills. In extreme cases, this may lead to clinical autism.
(Reprinted from the National DMDA Newsletter, vol. 7, no. 1)
Sincerely… Donna Williams *)