Mental Illness - Mental Illness: Autism Christa McDonald...

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Mental Illness: Autism Christa McDonald July 17, 2011 Health and Diseases HCA/240 David Rodvien
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Autism .2 Abstract Autism is one of the most fascinating and productively researched conditions of all psychiatric disorders in children. The history of autism has opened many doors to better understand this illness, but early accounts of autism are still unclear (Wolff, S). Autism has no conceivable cause or cure, but the concept and definition of the disorder has changed immensely over the years (Wolff, S). Because of this, methods for treating autism has improved, as well as the understanding that individuals with autism need specific care and treatment. This paper will discuss the background and history of autism, past and current treatments, diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and the parts of the brain that are affected by this disorder. History Autism was discovered in the early 1900s, and referred to a range of psychological conditions. The word “autism” has been in use for about 100 years and comes from the Greek word “autos”, which means “self”. The word “autism” describes a condition in which a person is removed from social interaction, or an “isolated self” (WebMD, 2005-2011). In 1911, a Swiss psychiatrist by the name of Eugen Bleuler was the first person to use the term, although he used it to describe a group of symptoms of schizophrenia. In the 1940’s, researchers from the United States used “autism” to describe children with social or emotional problems. A doctor from John Hopkins University by the name of Leo Kanner studied several different children with withdrawn behaviors, and used “autism” to describe them as well. Hans Asperger, a scientist in Germany, discovered a similar disorder to autism that is now called “Asperger’s syndrome”. Until the 1960s, autism and schizophrenia were considered to be the same disorder. As researchers began to identify and learn more about autism, the link between the two conditions broke, and there grew a separate understanding of autism in children. In the 1960s and 1970s,
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Autism .3 treatment for children with autism would be considered cruel and unusual by today’s standards. Methods of treatment included medications like LSD, electroshock therapy, and behavior change techniques, which most likely included pain and punishment. More conventional treatment methods were recognized in the 1980s and ‘90s, and these were in the form of controlled learning environments and behavioral therapy. Not only were researchers still working on
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Mental Illness - Mental Illness: Autism Christa McDonald...

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