Autism Spectrum Disorders

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can struggle with social, emotional, and communication skills.  These behavioral challenges can hurt their ability to function well in school,  at work, as well as in their personal lives. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is known as a developmental disorder because symptoms first appear in early childhood.

People with ASD generally have unique ways of communicating, interacting, learning, and paying attention. Their learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities can range. Some people with ASD need a lot of support in their daily lives; others do not.

Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because of a wide variation in the type and degree of symptoms. The ASD diagnosis now covers several conditions that used to be categorized separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.


ASD Symptoms

The most common ASD symptoms fall into two categories: social interaction and repetitive behaviors.
Interaction/Social Communication

Children and adults with ASD might:

• Avoid eye contact
• Prefer to be alone
• Have trouble relating to other people or have no interest in others at all
• Not point at objects to show interest and not look at objects when another person points at them
• Not respond immediately to verbal attempts to gain their attention
• Have difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
• Often talk at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or giving others a chance to respond
• Have facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match their words
• Have a sing-song or flat and robot-like tone of voice
• Have trouble predicting or understanding another person’s actions or point of view
• Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own
• Prefer not to be hugged or cuddled
• Have trouble communicating their needs appropriately

Repetitive/Restrictive Behavior

A person with ASD may:

  • Have very focused interests; “special interests” are a defining feature of autism spectrum disorder
    • Children can become obsessed by spinning objects, patterns or noises, or specific toys or subjects
    • Adults may focus on numbers, details, and facts relating to their special interest
  • Repeat actions, words, or phrases over and over again
  • Dislike changes in their daily activities or slight alterations in routine
Other Symptoms

Patients with ASD may react strongly to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound. The sensitivity of a person with ASD can vary.  Some patients may find the feel of certain pieces of clothing almost unbearable or not tolerate the taste or texture of particular foods.

People with ASD may also be moody or irritable, or they may have trouble sleeping.

ASD has its challenges and strengths, including:

  • Being able to learn things in detail and retain that information
  • Being strong visual and auditory learners
  • Excelling in their special interest areas

Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders

There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder. It is known that scans show distinctions in brain shape and structure in people with autism.

Researchers are investigating potential reasons why these brain differences exist, including a genetic link(inherited or spontaneous mutations), medical problems (certain viral infections, complications during pregnancy, metabolic imbalances), and environmental factors (exposure to toxic chemicals, and pollutants). Given the complexity of the disorder, there may be multiple causes.


Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be difficult. There’s no medical test, like a blood test, to find it. Physicians are trained to make a diagnosis based on specific behavioral symptoms. In children, the input of parents, caretakers, and teachers is an important factor.

Having a medical diagnosis is important because other conditions, such as sensory processing disorder, have symptoms that are similar to those of autism. To complicatematters, people with autism can also have sensory processing issues, problems with hearing or vision, or learning challenges along with their ASD. To find the right therapy, it’s important to distinguish autism from other conditions.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment

Although ASD typically lasts a lifetime, behavioral and educational therapies can make a positive impact. Medical intervention can improve a person’s symptoms and functionality.

Medications may include:

  • Melatonin for insomnia
  • Glutathione for detoxification
  • Low-dose naltrexone for mood support
  • Oxytocin, which has been found to impact social interaction, support bonding, and address anxiety and stress
  • Nutritional supplements to help with gut and nutrition challenges

A multimodal approach to care is best. ASD patients often have difficulties taking medicine. Some people with ASD have smell, taste, and texture issues. Many also have food and chemical allergies and intolerances. Compounding pharmacists can customize medicine for people with ASD to overcome these challenges.


Compounding can help:

  • Create medicines without artificial dyes, fillers, gluten, soy, casein, sugar, or other substances
  • Customize medication dosage forms to meet individual needs and preferences

How Belmar Can Help

Belmar compounds medications used to treat ASD in a variety of dosage forms and strengths that can be customized to individual needs and preferences. We’re focused on ensuring that your doctor has the best options available to help patients with ASD.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or you are concerned about any of the symptoms on this page, contact us for more information and start a conversation with your doctor. Together, you can decide if a compounded prescription might be part of a good treatment plan.