Complementary and alternative medicine use in adults with autism spectrum disorder in Germany: results from a multi-center survey
Höfer, Juliana ; Hoffmann, Falk ; Kamp-Becker, Inge ; Küpper, Charlotte ; Poustka, Luise ; Roepke, Stefan ; Roessner, Veit ; Stroth, Sanna et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15806
Abstract Background Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is widely used both in the general population and for the treatment of somatic and psychiatric disorders. Studies on CAM use among patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have so far only focused on children and adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate patterns of CAM use among adults with ASD. Methods A questionnaire survey concerning current and lifetime use of CAM was distributed to adults with ASD between November 2015 and June 2016. Participants diagnosed by experienced clinicians using the current diagnostic gold standard were recruited from four ASD outpatient clinics in Germany. Questionnaire data was then linked to supplementary clinical data. Results The final sample consisted of 192 adults (response: 26.8%) with a mean age of 31.5 years (80% male; diagnoses: Asperger’s syndrome (58%), childhood autism (27%), atypical autism (12%)). 45% of the respondents stated that they were currently using or had used at least one CAM modality in their life. Among the participants with lifetime CAM use, almost half had used two or more different types of CAM. Alternative medical systems (e.g. homeopathy, acupuncture) were most frequently used, followed by mind-body interventions (e.g. yoga, biofeedback, animal assisted therapy). Overall, 20% of respondents stated that they would like to try at least one listed CAM modality in the future. Conclusions This is the first study on CAM use in adults with ASD, demonstrating considerable CAM use in this population. Given the popularity of CAM, patients should be informed about the effectiveness and potentially dangerous side effects of CAM treatments, as evidence for the majority of CAM methods in ASD is still limited.