Why do Autism Patients need To Be Sedated?

Why do Autism Patients need To Be Sedated?

Autism is a mental disorder where the patient is incapable of maintaining relationships with other people. Autism patients find difficulty in communicating with the world around them. Children with autism will require more visits to avail health services than healthy children.

Autism is affecting more children in the US with every passing year. Due to the unique social and behavioural problems of autism patients, they may exhibit resistance to treatment. Even a routine checkup or a visit with the dentist can be a stressful experience for patients.

Autism patients may not cooperate with dental examinations and may require general anaesthesia for diagnosis and treatment. Some autism patients are maybe only having a small learning disorder and excellent verbal communication.

Such patients may not require general anaesthesia, and local anaesthesia is sufficient. If the patient has Autistic Spectrum disorder, they will be difficult to handle during medical procedures and need general anaesthesia.

Why Do Autism Patients Need Sedation?

Administering anesthesia to an autism patient is a cumbersome task. Children and even adults with autism can be aggressive when they are in a stressful situation. Hence, you will need to restrain the patient with the help of additional medical staff or employ a pre-anaesthetic before applying the actual anaesthetic.

The parents or guardians of the patient need to accompany them while visiting a doctor or dentist. Parents or guardians can help calm the patient and also help in serving anaesthetic to the patient after careful planning with the medical team.

Developmental delays in behavioural and social interaction and lack of communication ability are the most significant symptoms of autism. The anaesthesia methods in use for regular patients tend not to be practical for autistic children and adults.

Patients with autism may take a long duration to become friendly with the doctor. This difficulty makes the involvement of parents in planning the treatment mandatory. Understanding the definite cause of autism is essential in determining the best sedation process.

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What Are The Different Anesthesia Choices For Autism Patients?

The inhalation method of anaesthesia that doctors adopt to treat children does not apply to older autistic children. Intravenous injections for an adult autism patient is also unsafe for their health.

The intramuscular injection is hugely useful in quickly sedating the patient. However, you may require the assistance of hospital staff to perform the injection procedure. Intranasal sedation is adequate to sedate autistic toddlers in the two to six age group for dental treatment.

Why do Autism Patients need To Be Sedated?

Oral medication with Midazolam is the most straightforward sedation technique for children providing the patient cooperates with the treatment. The treatment is only applicable for treatment that takes a short duration or a diagnosis since the sedation usually wears off in 20 – 30 minutes.

The submucosal technique is exceptionally effective sedation dentistry technique for sedating autistic patients. The administration of submucosal anaesthetic is on the maxillary buccal submucosa. Moreover, the sedation by administering anaesthetic on the submucosal is having faster onset time and better overall effectiveness.

This sedation technique is especially appropriate when the restraining of the uncooperating autistic patient is with the aid of straps. The physical restraints make it impractical to administer any other type of sedation.

Inhalation of Sevoflurane is also an efficient technique for sedating autistic patients. Gas masks are usable for sedating the patient with sevoflurane.

Anaesthesia reacts with the body of every patient differently, and any existing preconditions of autistic patients need thorough examination before choosing a sedative. Medical practitioners view autism purely as a genetic disorder, and hence, they neglect metabolic factors that vary with every autistic child.

How To Deal With The Negative Effects Of Sedation On Autistic Patients?

Toxicity may build in the bodies of autistic patients undergoing sedation as their metabolic process differs from an average patient and even between autistic patients. Consumption of medication will also influence the choice of anaesthetic treatment.

Why do Autism Patients need To Be Sedated?


Some anaesthetics can react adversely with specific components of autism medicine, producing a side effect. Adverse effects can last in the body of the patient, days, or months after the treatment.

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Certain autism patients have an impairment in properly metabolizing all the nutrients from eating. Such patients can experience methylation deficiency, which escalates during the anaesthetic procedure, which is detrimental to the health of patients.

Methylation issues can cause toxins to build up in the patient, which is harmful. Autistic patients with defective MTHFR gene or mitochondrial disease face a complex problem for sedation of the patient.

You will need to follow the detoxification process to eliminate any traces of harmful toxins from the body of your autistic child. Deciding the detoxification method is possible only after confirming the sedation method.

Why do Autism Patients need To Be Sedated?


Intravenous and intramuscular injections for sedation pass through the liver before taking effect on the body of the patient. The liver filters the toxins from the body and aids to remove them from the body.

Autistic patients may not be capable of efficiently expelling the toxins from the liver. So, they will need help from external sources for liver detoxification to expel the toxins completely.

What Are The Steps To Provide Medical Care To Your Autistic Child?

If you have an autistic child, following these steps will help in efficiently providing proper medical care to your child.

1. Find A Complete Medical Service

Even if you are only going to consult a dentist, visiting a complete medical practitioner. A full-body practitioner can diagnose the whole body of the patient can help in quickly identifying any pre-existing conditions and deficiencies.

2. Use Earlier Test Results

Using earlier test results such as x-rays and scan reports is advisable if the conduction of the test is only a short duration. Older results will prevent unnecessary wasting of time for conducting the analysis again and also avoid sedating the patient again.

3. Update The Doctor And Prepare Patient

Update the doctor with all the information concerning the patient to allow the doctor to make a quick diagnosis. Preparing your autistic child can improve the chances of getting them to cooperate with medical assistance.

4. Prepare A Detox Plan

Create a detox plan according to the type of sedation suitable for the patient. Get the help of a trustworthy medical practitioner to formulate an appropriate detox plan.


Getting the services of a professional doctor is paramount in providing excellent treatment for autistic patients. Ensure that you get the proper care for the autistic patient as their condition can vary from every individual. The severity of the patient’s condition is also a crucial factor in determining anaesthetics.

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