One can notice the signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during early childhood. ASD is characterized by problems related to social interaction and communication.
According to the CDC report, approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States were diagnosed with ASD in 2020. This neurodevelopmental disorder is mostly detected by the age of 5 in most children. Studies indicate that there has been a rise in ASD.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognized different subtypes of ASD. They are:
- With or without language impairment
- With or without intellectual impairment
- Related with a mental or behavioral disorder
- Connected with a genetic condition or environmental factor
- Associated with catatonia
After several case studies and research, the professionals suggested that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can significantly improve the lives of children with ASD. A Hyperbaric Medical Society has spent plenty of years educating the population about the effectiveness of hyperbaric therapy in the treatment of autism.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not only confined to improving the conditions of autistic kids, but it also helps people with chronic medical conditions, such as:
- Brain Infections
- Traumatic Injuries
- Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used for several decades to heal severe conditions. There has been an increase in the number of hyperbaric medical centers across the world for treating neurological diseases and injuries. HBOT experts suggest that it is one of the most effective ways to resolve the effects of autism.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
A person receiving Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy needs to enter the tube-like chamber that is made of transparent acrylic. During the treatment, the patient requires to breathe the air inside the tube, and gradually the pressure is increased. In some clinics, it takes about 20 to 40 sessions for the improvement in condition. However, the time varies from person to person, depending on the problem.
There are three types of Hyperbaric Therapy chambers – 1. Group Chambers, 2. Individual Chambers, 3. Home Chambers.
Individual hyperbaric chambers can be of two types – One where the chamber looks like a tiny airplane where patients sit up, and the second type, which is a bed closed with acrylic bubble where people can lie down. In either unit, an individual needs around nine minutes to get a PSI. It would take nine minutes to return to normobaric pressure. Hyperbaric Medical Society helps people understand the entire procedure and pass on the correct information about the workings of the HBOT.
Generally, the air pressure inside the oxygen chamber is at least two or three times greater than the outside. It means that the patients inhale 100% oxygen under a heightened atmosphere. After getting absorbed by the lungs, oxygen travels throughout the body and circulates to all other parts, including tissues, heart, blood vessels. Oxygen also travels to other regions of the body where blood circulation is blocked. The entire procedure helps in reducing inflammation, supports the immune cells to kill bacteria, and allows collateral circulation.
How HBOT Can Benefit Children With Autism?
Most often, autism is a life-long condition, but symptoms may vary from person to person, and behavior may alter over time. Several children with ASD suffer from additional medical conditions, like sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal issues, and seizures. There are several treatments for autism tailored to your needs. However, for treating autism in children, therapy sessions and highly structured and specialized treatments are required. With these in line, the communication, learning, adapting, and behavioral patterns can be improved.
Reputed Hyperbaric Medical Societies like the International Hyperbaric Association and several others suggest that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has proven effective in improving autism in kids. HBOT:
- Increases the oxygen in brain tissue. As the cells absorb oxygen, poorly functioning brain cells show improvement in functioning.
- Improves neurotransmitter abnormalities
- Decreases swelling of inflamed tissues
- Reduces inflammation in the brain
- Enhances motor skills
- Improves and increases alertness, attention span
- Improves language skills and social skills
- Improves cognitive function and sensory awareness
- Reduces problem behavior
- Enhanced spontaneous communication
HBOT is a safe, effective, and relaxing technique that has shown a remarkable improvement due to the increase in cerebral perfusion during the session. When the patient inhales more oxygen, there is an increase in arterial partial pressure of oxygen in his/her body and brain. This, in turn, delivers more oxygen to the person’s brain.
After multiple kinds of research, surveys, and studies, it has come to the point that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can alleviate the symptoms of autism in children. With the help of a professional, the HBOT can potentially improve behavior, communication, self-help skills by reducing inflammation and generating oxygen.
The treatment for autism isn’t aimed to cure. It is designed in a way that autistic children can improve the behavioral skills that will enable them to handle problematic situations in the future. With supportive Hyperbaric Medical Societies all around the world, parents of kids with autism are turning towards hyperbaric oxygen therapy to alleviate the obstacles faced by their children every day.