Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused due to differences in brain which can be caused due to genetic conditions. It affects how a person perceives and socializes with others, and causes problems in social interaction and communication. This starts manifesting in childhood that causes problems at work, school and home. The symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are- the person is unable to communicate, delayed speech, loses previous ability to say words, speaks in abnormal tone, unable to express emotions, can’t start conversation, self-harming activities, sensitive to light and touch, fixates on an object, etc.
According to ayurveda, autism spectrum disorder is a behavioral abnormality that is manifested due to defects in neuropsychological platform and derangement of metabolic and digestive system. ‘Unmada’ is the term that can be related to autism in ayurveda. The impairments in this condition include- Manas, Buddhi, Samjna janana, Bhakti, seela, Cheshta and achara. It can be summarized as, a person’s jnanotpathy (acquisition of knowledge that happens only when Manas is in sync with Atma, Indriya and Indriyartha) is disturbed.
Thus, in order to treat autism spectrum in ayurveda, it is important to note a persons’ physical, mental and emotional state. This is done by various therapies like Daiva Vyapasraya, Yukti Vyapasraya and Satvajaya Vyapasraya. It is also accompanied by panchakarma procedures that help in clearing toxins from the channels and restoring the connection between body, mind and soul. This line of treatment helps in reversal from symptoms of autism and encourages a person’s social behavior.
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According to Ayurveda, disorders like autism are called sahaja vyadhi, or illnesses that occur from birth. These illnesses are caused by variables passed down from parents and are classified as genetic disorders.
Autism is a thridoshaja sickness (a condition caused by the vitiation of all three doshas) that affects body and mind prakruthi within garbhashaya. Thamoguna of kapha produces vishada (depression), budhi nirodha (intellectual difficulties), and other disorders. Vatha's chala guna causes stereotypic emotions. Pitha's Rajoguna causes krodha (rage), self-harming, and so forth. According to Ayurveda, the mind has both sensory and motor functions, and abnormalities in the mind lead to aberrant motor and sensory functions. Mathruja bhava produces Majja (marrow), which is crucial in the formation of masthulunga (brain) (properties inherited from mother). As a result, the mother's emotional and physical state during pregnancy might impact the development of ASD. Katu amla pradhana aharas, manasika vikaras such as krodha, vishada,bhaya, and incorrect dinacharyas of mother result in tridosha kopa and vitiation of rajas and tamas, which leads to illness development. Abhighatas, infections, and poisoning from garbhastha shishu can have an impact on a child's mental and physical development.
Ayurveda considers disease prevention to be more important than cure. Autism prevention may be accomplished in three stages: prevention prior to intake, prevention during pregnancy, and prevention after birth. Detoxification of shareera by panchakarma chikithsa, rasayana seva, manovikara niyanthrana (mind control) and other methods are used to prevent consumption. Panchakarma aids in the removal of bodily pollutants (vitiated dosha). Renewal of healthy tissues happens as a result of rasayana chikitsa, which aids in the creation of healthy sperm and ovum.
Prevention during pregnancy includes a whole nutritional diet and exercise regimen. During this time, manovikara niyanthrana (controlling undesirable feelings) is very vital.
Autism is no longer regarded as a handicap. Instead, as a unique skill. Autism is not only a disorder that affects one individual or family; society has an important role in its management since autistic youngsters require extra attention and care. The most crucial aspect is social awareness. Ayurveda, with its holistic and sincere approach, offers fresh hope in the treatment of ASD. Panchakarma treatments, medhya aushadhi, yoga, and diets shall be combined.
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