Coping with disorders such as autism and ADHD can be trying for children and caregivers, but there are safe, drug-free interventions that go a long way in resolving many different symptoms.
A healthy diet, limiting sugar, artificial dyes and processed foods, and natural alternatives like the use of essential oils can have a noticeable impact on focus, concentration, social anxiety and better sleep.
Many health-conscious parents who don’t want their children on mind-altering medication have turned to essential oils to reduce emotional outbursts and behavioral problems associated with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, especially blends specially formulated to help cope with stress, boost mood or have a calming effect, may offer an array of benefits for autism and the entire family.
While many people find the aromas pleasing, or overlook the scent for the noted change in behavior of their child, others find essential oils overwhelming and disruptive. More research, education and awareness is needed on essential oils for autism among physicians, parents and educators, as this natural health alternative has come under fire from some.
A school district in Florida recently threatened to suspend an autistic 5-year-old student for wearing essential oils to school. The family uses oils with scents like lavender, chamomile and sandalwood. The boy’s mom said
the oils help his behavior issues that come with his autism.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive and sometimes disruptive behavior.
ADHD is a well-recognized developmental problem among both children and adults. It is often associated with inattention, hyperactivity, erratic impulses and outbursts.
Essential oils are often used for autism with benefits ranging from uplifting mood to calming and promoting sleep. They also have the ability to detoxify and remove heavy metals from the body.
For both ADHD/ADD and autism, stimulation of the limbic region of the brain may also help improve symptoms associated with these disorders. The aromas are believed to have a powerful ability to stimulate this part of the brain, since the sense of smell is tied directly to the mind’s emotional and hormonal centers.
A two-year case study by Dr. Terry Friedmann found significant results when children previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD were administered therapeutic essential oils by inhalation.
Some of the most popular essential oils for autism include:
- Bergamont – Builds confidence and enhances mood; works to calm agitation and counter emotional and performance stress; helps alleviate repetitive behaviors, stagnant feelings and limiting beliefs
- Frankincense – Shown to go through the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the limbic system of the brain
- Lavender – Relaxing, calming and good to wind down before bed; has sedative properties to help relax the mind and nervous system, improve emotions and promotes sound, restful sleep
- Lime – Helps soothe the central nervous system while improving overall mood
- Patchouli – Calms the mind and body, while enhancing positive emotion
- Peppermint – Good for digestive issues, headaches, focus, energy and general balancing oil
- Sandalwood – Helps with ADD or ADHD, absentmindedness, and dispelling negativity; purifying and healing; opens sacral chakra and is an excellent aid to meditation, manifesting, and letting go
- Vetiver – Psychologically grounding, calming and mood stabilizing
- Ylang Ylang – Calms mood and promotes relaxation with sedative characteristics
Essential oils can be used topically by mixing a few drops with a carrier oil and applying to the base of the neck, behind the ears, on the wrists or feet. You can also add a few drops to a diffuser, bath or simply inhale directly from the bottle or a tissue. Some jewelry includes a refillable container which allows wearers to discreetly sniff essential oil and receive benefits throughout the day.
Finding ways to balance the rights of essential oil users with those of people who are allergic to perfumes and scents, especially in public places such as schools, will continue to be part of the discussion. But the benefits of essential oils for autism seem much safer than current allopathic options.
Stimulants, mainly amphetamines, are prescribed for ADHD and have various side effects, including decreased appetite, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, suicidal thoughts, drug interactions and dependence. Many medications for autism include antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Some are prescribed “off-label” for children, meaning they have not been officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for certain age groups.
Holistic medicine is not only highly impactful, but safe, natural and addresses the whole person. Conditions such as ADHD and autism are often accompanied by impulsivity and repetition/compulsion, anxiety, isolation, low self-worth, depression, sleep issues and more.
Essential oils work by bringing balance to the body. It will go where it’s needed to relax and ground you – body, mind and spirit – making EOs great for autism, nervousness and anxiety, behavioral problems and mood disorders.
This information is educational in nature and not intended to replace medical advice. The FDA has not evaluated the use of essential oils to treat, cure or prevent any disease, including autism and ADHD. Consult your doctor, Ayurvedic practitioner, homeopath, or an aromatherapist for specific uses, blends, applications, effectiveness and safety precautions.