Question: When is medication used in a treatment plan for autism, and is medication an essential component for all individuals with autism?
Answer: Ok, the last part of that question is probably the easiest to answer. Pharmacologic treatment is not an essential part of the treatment plan for every child with autism. In some cases, however, it is a useful adjunct. For example, if there's an interfering symptom, like hyperactivity, aggression, or anxiety, that prevents the child from participating in the usual treatment program, then a pharmacologic agent may help the child to become more available and more able to participate.
There are various established treatments based on behavioral models that are available for most children with autism. And as long as the child can participate in that, that may be all that is necessary in many cases. a