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LePetitPrince
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:07 pm

I am starting to think that my 'autistic' traits in childhood were the consequences of another serious brain disorder that I had it from age 3 to age 13 which was Abdominal Migraine.

The symptoms of Abdominal Migraine are:

Quote:
Abdominal pain
No appetite (anorexia)
nausea/vomiting
pallor (going pale)

Aside from these, there may be headache, sensitivity to light, irritability, diarrhea, and dark shadows under the eyes. The symptoms of abdominal migraine are episodic - that is, they come in "attacks" with healthy periods in between, just like other types of migraine.


In other sites I found that phonophobia — sensitivity to sound , is one of the symptoms too and I had it.

More about the disease: http://psy.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/47/4/353

Abdominal migraine also causes sensitivity to certain foods.


I personally had all the above symptoms.

Doctors thought for years that my abdominal pains and cyclic vomiting was caused by stomach ulcers that were been detected by scanners but the truth was totally the contrary : the stomach ulcers were in fact caused by the excessive vomiting. I was being forwarded from abdominal/colon/stomach doctor to another.

My stomach's esophagus was also been deformed as result of the excessive vomiting , curved in places and wide in other places of the canal.


Later at age 12 , with the increase of the severity of these symptoms , I did full medical tests including brain electric pulses and they found instability in my electrical neuronal activity and only then , for the first time, I was forwarded to a neurologist.

The neurologist had quickly diagnosed with Abdominal Migraine , other doctors thought that he was talking mumbo-jumbo (how Migraine can be in the tummy?) and there was great dispute between the neurologist and my personal general doctor who she was insisting that I should take treatments for the excessive electrical neuronal activity (such as for epileptic seizure), my parents were been more convinced by the neurologists and choose his way of treatment.
The cure was ironically simple , it was just the Periactin , a common drug used to treat underweight people and treat migraine disorders in children : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyproheptadine

I was cured after taking this cure for 2 years.


But what about the impact of this chronic disease that lasted 13 years on my social skills and life??

Could my autism diagnosis was just a misdiagnosis as a result of confusion with the Abdominal Migraine and its impact on social skills?

There 's no studies on this disease 's social impact on children , however ...many articles states: "Abdominal migraine is a syndrome characterized by episodes of recurrent severe abdominal pain, nausea, and/or vomiting, that interferes with normal daily activities but with periods of wellness between episodes.1"

And there are many studies that links the social withdrawal with chronic abdominal pains and diseases.


More to the point, I was been diagnosed with autism based on these traits:


-Poor social skills and few peers : - Social withdrawal and poor social skills are related to autism yet , in my case, they might be caused by AM (Abdominal Migraine) ...chronic illness for 13 years certainly damages greatly the social development of a child.
- Speech delay till age 3 and had a very limited speech development (a jargon vocab limited with 3 to 4 comprehensible words) from age 3 to 5. Maybe the chronic abdominal pain caused that?? (I was misdiagnosed as retard then)
- Poor eye contact / can't be really linked to AM but one of the AM is "dark shadows under the eyes" so could eye fatigue cause poor eye contact? I still have that trait tho.
-Abdominal pain: Autism was been associated with abdominal pain by many psychiatrists. Yet it was exclusively caused by Abdominal Migraine in my case.
- Food sensitivity: Certain food sensitivity an also related to autistic children yet in my case it was probably caused by Abdominal Migraine since I have no more food sensitivity.
- Sensors issues: phonophobia and light sensitivity can be also associated to autism , i still prefer silence and darkness but maybe because I was used to that environment when I had AM.
- Stimming / routines / obsession. All these traits might be caused by a withdrawn social way of life when i was ill.

I still remember that after I was being cured I started realizing that I was far behind my peers when it comes to social life / social skills and social activities and maybe it was too late for me to catch the social skills in healthy way in order to have a typical school social life. My AM was totally removed by Periactin but maybe I couldn't outgrew its impact on my social life and skills and so ....maybe I am just NT who became like someone with true autistic traits? My AQ score is 34-35 btw but I never take those online tests seriously too.

After all , HFA is solely diagnosed on behavior.



ChristinaCSB
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:42 pm

I don't think the way an illness would effect you would make you appears as HFA but again I don't really know your situation too well.



LePetitPrince
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:45 pm

I described my situation too well =(



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Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:56 pm

i guess the only reliable thing would be whether you feel you understand all the cues that autistic people don't pick up on. im not dxed, but i know i identify with a lot of thought patterns and processing issues common to people here.

im sorry for your abdominal pain as that is something i've dealt with on and off again throughout my life... and they have no clue what's wrong.


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ChristinaCSB
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:13 pm

LePetitPrince wrote:
I described my situation too well =(


I know you did, I'm sorry I worded myself wrong. What I meant was, I haven't been there.



ford_prefects_kid
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:14 pm

I don't know much about that disorder beyond the explanation you just posted, but I had a serious disease as a child for a long time as well and have often wondered how much the experience contributed to my autistic tendencies.

Some of the drug treatments I received for years are no longer used for advanced melanoma patients- and rarely if ever on children/young teens with that cancer (I was under the FDA radar for awhile) so while there are a lot of speculations published about permanent effects on mental health, there were never any formal studies done.

The experience was very traumatic for me, and by the end I was far more socially inept and overly sensitive to light and contact than I had been before I became ill.

However, I was already 11 before the cancer was discovered so my parents already had plenty of time to observe my natural behavior and personality- while I was more social and less sensitive, I definitely exibited some autistic traits as a child- such as occasional stimming and OCD. Also, while I did have a social life I was content with, I took awhile to connect with other children and still only played with a few select peers.

Long story short- I think I was probably always inclined to autistic tendencies, but I would guess that the experience of the disease/treatments was what made my asperger's become full blown.



ford_prefects_kid
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:17 pm

Also, thanks for posting that- while I'm sorry that you had to go through that, I haven't heard any stories from other members here that had to go through a serious disease growing up.



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Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:11 pm

Hey : )
I have chronic migraines and P.O.H.T.S (a form of orthostatic hypotension).
These have both led to oversensitivities and withdrawal, but I also have these problems due to my AS.
Chronic illness interferes with social development, but even with a chronic illness, an NT will be better off socially than an autistic person.
I would look more closely at your social 'symptoms'.


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Callista
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Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:56 pm

Well, there's a great deal of variability in the strength of autistic traits... autism itself is highly genetic; but environment seems to play a large role in how well you can cope.

In this case 'environment' includes your migraines... Maybe without them, you might have been just mildly autistic, or "neurotypical with autistic traits".

What this whole question doesn't affect, though, is your ability to learn. Autistic people can learn social skills; so can neurotypical people who are behind on them thanks to an illness. If you really missed out in early childhood, you may always be a bit behind; but learning itself is certainly possible. Exactly what caused your autistic traits may not be as important as finding ways to work around and perhaps work with them.


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LePetitPrince
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Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:52 am

Aurore wrote:
Hey : )
I have chronic migraines and P.O.H.T.S (a form of orthostatic hypotension).
These have both led to oversensitivities and withdrawal, but I also have these problems due to my AS.
Chronic illness interferes with social development, but even with a chronic illness, an NT will be better off socially than an autistic person.
I would look more closely at your social 'symptoms'.




My chronic migraine interfered greatly on my social activities , I avoided going to parties because noise and flashy lights almost kill me , besides the party's food was poisonous for me.

Abdominal Migraine cause a cyclic vomiting and mine was very severe , I used to have a vomit 'crysis' that last for 1 week +/- every month , 24/7 ...anything enters my mouth I throw it up after less than hour. My brain functions as if any food is poisonous and so it gives order to my stomach to throw it out.
I was taken to ER many times because of dehydration. I usually had little energy left for the rest of month to do any sort of physical activities and I was abnormaly underweight.

in addition, I had learning difficulties , especially when it comes to foreign languages ( I was the star of the arabic literature tho).


However, I remember that I was used to play with some peers when I could , simple games like 'cat and mouse' and 'hide and seek' but I sucked in group sport games. That is not an autistic trait.

That was the case from age 3 till age 13.

It's only after I was cured , my awarness has 'waked up" and starting little by little to notice my social symptoms and realized how I am way socially behind my peers , my peers were already engaging into dating , social events , social and extracurricular activities. I was totally lost and didn't know from where to start to even catch the least social of them.

I recovered my health verly slowly but my social social grew very poorly and remained socially inept...



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Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:23 am

WOW I am sorry you had to go through that. I am terrified of vomiting and anything related to vomit (I can't tell you how many times I have been mocked about this, another thing that others just don't understand). I can't even imagine that and I am grateful my kids don't have that kind of condition! I wouldn't be able to cope!


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LePetitPrince
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Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:24 pm

Anyone would be able to cope in order to survive.



LePetitPrince
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Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:02 pm

So I might just be NT with badly developed social skills.....no?



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Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:04 pm

LePetitPrince wrote:
So I might just be NT with badly developed social skills.....no?

Well under that theory you would be able to learn social skills if you got the right help. But most of all ASD doesn't have the instinctual social skills that most people have but take for granted. You don't learn those you either have them or you don't.



Aurore
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Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:28 pm

LePetitPrince wrote:
So I might just be NT with badly developed social skills.....no?


I had a similar experience, my migraines were highly debilitating. I myself had the issue with profuse vomiting, though it was due to the pain, not to an abdominal migraine. On top of that I could not maintain my own blood pressure. (My migraines are still constant and one of the things that prevents me from even trying to socialize sometimes is the hemineglect that shows up as a negative scotoma. Occasionally just an entire half of my visual field goes missing. Not to mention the horrible over sensitivities it sounds like you have too.)

I think if you don't want to identify as HFA that's fine, though it's definitely possible that a predisposition plus your horrible abdominal migraine condition are interacting.


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