We wish we could give you all the true data about autism, but we don’t know it all. Instead, we can give you many related facts and a few opinions; perhaps these can help you evaluate the subject. The reason we discuss it at all is because the psychiatric industry has claimed this disorder for its own purposes, and continues to wrestle with the line between unusual and abnormal behavior. For obvious reasons, we mis-trust anything that psychiatry has to say about the condition, especially about treating it with psychotropic drugs.
The word “autism” was coined in 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from the Greek autos- “self” + –ismos a suffix of action or of state. The notion was originally of “morbid self-absorption.”
The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic criteria and practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved, since diagnosis is based on behavior, not cause or mechanism.
Autism, sometimes called “autism spectrum disorder,” “pervasive developmental disorder,” or “Asperger syndrome,” apparently does not have a single definitive definition that can be used across the board to provide a basis for correcting the condition; it generally refers to a range of symptoms characterized by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns.
A study was once done to figure out how common Asperger’s was, and the results were clear — it was vanishingly rare. Then Allen Frances put it in the DSM, and the number of kids diagnosed with the disorder exploded.
Of course, while Dr. Hans Asperger is credited with shaping our ideas of autism and Asperger syndrome, one may not want to give him that much credit, since he is now linked with the Nazi’s child euthanasia program, recommending dozens of children to be sent for euthanasia.
There are many competing theories about autism’s etiology [its causes or origins]. We have seen articles relating autism to toxins (mercury, pesticides, etc.), nutrition, incomplete breakdown of casein or gluten, vaccination, genetic predisposition, neurological brain disorders, an alteration in how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize, birth defects, the stress of circumcision, antidepressants, ad nauseum.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s billing bible, may perpetuate the perception, whether true or false, that autism is related to mental retardation where it discusses atypical autism arising most often in profoundly retarded individuals.
Where to go from here?
Well, we’re not going to spend any more time discussing etiology and treatment, since you can Google those thousands of articles as well as we can. The real point we want to make is that psychiatry currently owns autism, listing “Autism spectrum disorder” in the DSM-5.
In future revisions of the DSM psychiatrists may make it easier to diagnose, increasing the number of children into the mental health system; or they may make it harder to diagnose, excluding children whose families are currently receiving, or hope to receive, some kind of monetary disability support. In any case, the hue and cry is already demanding more psychiatric funding for whatever they are currently calling autism.
At least a million children and adults have an autism diagnosis or a related disorder, such as “Unspecified neurodevelopmental disorder” (and there are ten categories of “developmental disorder” in the DSM-5.)
There are as many recommended therapies for autism as there are theories about the condition; these therapies may include diet, nutrition, behavioral modification, and many other non-invasive alternative health treatments. Of course, the treatment of choice for psychiatrists is the usual list of harmful and addictive antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs, whose devastating side effects are well-documented.
Autism is big business — meaning big profits. One check on the Missouri government web site (www.mo.gov) revealed the word “autism” appearing 1,880 times, and “autistic” appearing 607 times.
The Missouri Department of Mental Health budget in 2012 included over $10 million for various autism services. In 2018 the autism budget is still roughly $10 million, but the budget for the Division of Developmental Disabilities is going to be over one billion dollars.
Granted, there is social justification for providing help to children and families coping with traumatic health situations. Given, however, psychiatry’s history of fraud, abuse, and use of damaging drugs, due diligence suggests examining this field very closely for exaggeration and mis-use.
The Drug Controversy
It is estimated that more than half of autistic school age children are on one or more psychotropic drugs. In at least one study, it was shown that prenatal use of antidepressants increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder in newborn children.
Children with autism are more likely to be prescribed addictive and harmful antipsychotic drugs than their typical peers, according to a large study. They are also prescribed antipsychotics such as risperidone at younger ages, and for longer periods of time. Doctors often prescribe antipsychotics to manage behavioral problems in children with autism rather than as any kind of actual treatment for the condition, since the drugs act to suppress the central nervous system. Other studies also indicate that many children with autism who take antipsychotic medications are not first offered safer and more effective options. A 2017 study suggested that about 20 percent of children with autism in the U.S. are prescribed antipsychotics.
An article in the Los Angeles Times on April 23, 2012 headlined, “Report says studies overstate drugs’ ability to treat autism symptoms.” It went on to say that “Antidepressants are not specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating autism, but they have become the go-to drugs for trying to control some of its key symptoms. By some estimates, the drugs have been prescribed for as many as one-third of children with the diagnosis. … A series of standard statistical tests designed to check the consistency and reliability of the published data [about the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs prescribed for autism] strongly suggested publication bias. The effect appeared to be so great that the researchers could no longer deem the anti-depressants effective.” [Publication bias occurs when studies that show a drug or treatment is effective are more likely to be published than studies with negative findings.]
Find out more about what you can do to expose psychiatric fraud and abuse, and support CCHR St. Louis so that it can continue to expose psychiatric fraud and abuse. Go to http://www.cchrstl.org/takeaction.shtml.