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Do you think an autistic child,young adult, or adult is more susceptible to taking illegal drugs?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by pineywood, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    It just seems like, when an autistic person is giving so many different types of medications through the course of their life, and none help, they can go looking on their own and turn to illegal drugs.

    So many organizations are out there today, promoting this ad campaign, find a cure! In my personal opinion and experience, there is no cure. I think, it does more harm, then good to say we can "fix" autism. Sure promote awareness, encourage inclusion vs exclusion, but to to say let's find a cure is deceiving.
  2. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I think those who are autistic will only be addicted on drugs if they will not be well guided. They need guidance especially when it comes to their medication if they will need it. If they will not be exposed on those drugs, they will no chances of being addicted.
    pineywood likes this.
  3. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    Not necessarily. I think that if an autistic child is in a home where the environment is very unsafe for them, like a home where the parents are taking, selling, or dealing with any sort of illegal substances, and the child is not getting the proper care and attention that they obviously need, then I think that any child would be curious and would probably get into them as well, not just autistic ids.
    pineywood likes this.
  4. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    All good relevant points. I just think any child that has been exposed to a large variety of prescribed medicine needs extra guidance to stir clear of illegal drugs. Especially, if there has never been a prescription in the past that has worked for them.

    In the case of an autistic child, which I have first hand experience with, there can be additional obstacles to clearly identify why illegal drugs are different compared to subscribed prescription medication. When you are dealing with a child with an IQ that surpasses my own, yet takes situations so literal, it has been a challenge.

    To complicate matters, social skills and relationships can be an intimating factor. I do not doubt that parental guidance is essential for success, yet you can not be with your child 24/7. Peer pressure and a desire for friendship at any cost are issues with all children, yet in these cases, like I said, it is an extra challenge with limitations on socials and the inability or difficulty to read body language and facial expressions, there is an increase for these children to be taken advantage of by others.
  5. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    I don't know that autism would cause a person to be more prone to addiction. I think it depends on the person and their circumstances. I do not know if autism affects decision making, or how it affects it, but if the individual is easily influenced by others, perhaps trying to fit in, that could be a vulnerability if they were to meet others who are using drugs.
  6. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thanks for your reply. I agree about the vulnerability issues. In regards to decision making, I was reading this article by Jean Gehricke (associate professor of pediatrics at UC Irvine and a licensed clinical psychologist with the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders). Gehricke discusses health risk decision making in relation to a DRD4 gene and a 7R allele gene (all of which is over my head, at the moment), but seems to be a distortion in dopamine and its function in relation to signals in the brain with autistic individuals. A fascinating subject, which I am going to look into more.
  7. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    If there are drugs in the same environment as an autistic child, they'll be curious about them for sure. Same goes for literally any child though.
  8. cotyb

    cotyb Member

    Lots of things factor into the making of an addiction. Mostly it's circumstance throw in a little bit of personality and then other things too but the conditions your asking about I don't think really factor in to the equation much. Even if someone says this is one of their reasons I would seriously doubt that it made much difference but that indivual may feel that it did.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  9. Auril

    Auril Active Contributor

    I don't believe that in general they are more susceptible. By that I mean, I don't feel that they have any biological predisposition or anything like that. Where there may be a concern is if they are easily influenced by their peers. Some people are because they want to be liked and accepted - but you don't have to have autism to fall into that category. As long as a child or young person with autism is properly educated about the effects of drugs and alchohol, as well as how to stand up to the effects of peer pressure, I don't feel they are at any more of a risk. In fact - if they've been educated about peer pressure both at home and at school...they might even be less susceptable than their typical peers.
  10. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Since my last post on this subject back in May 2015, I have continued to read and research the connection between autism and addiction. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I would just like to point out that there is the possibility of a "biological predisposition" because autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Meaning affected brain functions include, but not limited to emotions, learning ability, self-control and memory. Molecular Psychiatry is a fascinating subject. I have expanded my research from DRD4 gene and a 7R allele gene to the NRXN1 gene. A quick reference summary can be found here:
    Disruption of Neurexin 1 Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929707000171