In the recent past, the increasing popularity of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has gained significant predominance. Primarily, the approach has been limited to HBOT as a part of the basic pathological process since it was used for the first time way back in 1940.
Ever since, HBOT as a treatment option has exposed patients to a natural flow of oxygen at increased pressure, thus affecting the overall concentration within the body. As such, the body cells were found to make use of the oxygen to speed up the repair mechanism of the body. This accounts to be one of the major benefits of HBOT treatment.
This post aims at pointing out many benefits of HBOT for autism. However, to do that, we will need to establish a firm understanding of autism and its associated symptoms, and how HBOT functions to mitigate the same, potentially improving the situation.
Autism Spectrum Disorder or more popularly known as just Autism refers to a certain neurobehavioral condition that affects humans, children mostly.
Owing to the nature of its severity and varying range of symptoms, autism is particularly called a spectrum disorder. In most cases, where autism affects a child symptoms start appearing between one and three years of age.
Some of the most common behavioral symptoms of autism include:
- Trouble with learning or adapting to the developmental language and basic communication
- Impaired forms of social interaction
- Behaviors that are repetitive or restrictive. These can be simple gestures like clapping of hands or rocking from a seated position.
- Trouble with changing routines and patterns.
Besides, there are also a handful of physiological symptoms that some autistic children show from time to time. They include:
- Inflammation around gastrointestinal tracts and some parts of the brain
- Oxidative stress is nothing but an imbalance that arises from antioxidants and free radicals leading to damage to tissues and cells.
- Cerebral hypoperfusion involves a decreased flow of blood through the cerebrum of the brain leading to a decreased level of oxygen.
Although standard forms of treatment have always targeted the behavioral symptoms, physiological symptoms are often neglected as a part of treatment. Beginning in 2005, there are several such occurrences and clinical investigations to support the efficacy of HBOT for autism in children at large.
The Role of HBOT to Help With Autism Symptoms
The multiple benefits of HBOT stem from the point of circulating pure oxygen throughout one’s body. Our body is in constant need of oxygen to keep functioning and heal damaged tissues and cells, daily. Apart from other benefits of HBOT for autism targets, two major physiological side effects require a strong mentioning:
For the majority of autistic patients, neuroinflammation across parts of the brain, and gastro-inflammation are quite common. HBOT helps reduce the formation of protein which is responsible for causing inflammation across the gastrointestinal tract.
Additionally, it also helps in the increased production of anti-inflammatory proteins. Thus, it offers overall relief from the recurring inflammation symptoms which adds to the comfort of the patient.
Cerebral hypoperfusion is another common finding for people suffering from autism. Reportedly, hypoperfusion within a particular area of the brain has been directly linked to recurring symptoms like repetitive behaviors, inclination towards the same routine and patterns in life, impaired forms of language development, and trouble understanding gestures and cues of people.
Since our body shares the same amount of oxygen that’s there in the blood, hypoperfusion occurs when a much lesser amount of blood reaches the brain.
Thus, it ends up with low oxygen in the brain, which in turn, impairs our thinking ability and capability to function properly.
HBOT for autism ensures the flow of oxygen within the blood around the particular area of the brain is controlled. Thus, it allows the brain to function properly and carry on with repairing other surrounding areas that are otherwise deprived of oxygen.
What about Side Effects?
Well, similar to any traditional form of treatment, HBOT for autism also witnesses side effects from time to time.Don’t be alarmed. They aren’t harmful in any way. HBOT as you know is a completely painless and non-invasive process. However, some patients do complain about a sensation of being full in their ears, as the pressure within the chamber rises. Although this is not a serious issue and only a momentary feeling inside the chamber, qualified doctors will always be on standby should there be any major problem.
It can be a little uncomfortable for all those who are coming in for an HBOT session for the first time. However, once you get used to it, you will hardly feel anything.
If your child is looking to undergo HBOT for autism, it helps to let him know about the sensations and the feelings that he might witness during the procedure. This will help prepare him mentally to some extent, and safe from being scared.
In the majority of cases, a patient undergoing an HBOT session is allowed to read a book or watch TV to help feel relaxed.
HBOT for autism has long been argued but has managed to show some wonderful results in bettering both behavioral as well as physiological symptoms. However, the accessibility to HBOT sessions is a little higher on the expense side which makes it difficult for many to opt for it.