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Objective: In addition to the core symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); symptoms such as aggression, self-harm, impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, and mood problems are also often present. Medication use is frequent and studies report that 27-40% of ASD patients use at least one psychotropic medication. We aimed to examine the clinical and sociodemographic features and treatment modalities of ASD patients who were referred to a rural hospital in the last two years.
Material and Methods: Age, gender, mean diagnosis age (MDA), type of ASD, psychiatric symptoms, medication (if they use one) types, and doses were recorded for 200 children with ASD (who were referred between August 2018 – August 2020) were retrospectively evaluated. Also, patients who were diagnosed with “childhood autism (CA)” and “other ASD diagnoses” were compared.
Results: The majority of the patients were male, the MDA value of the all patients was 4.56 (±2.2) years and there were no significant differences between groups regarding MDA (p = 0.053). Most frequently seen psychiatric symptoms were behavioral (33%) and attention problems (21%) and 52.5% of patients (n=105) were using at least one psychotropic medication. Patients with CA had higher rates of psychotropic medication use (p=0.010) and the most frequently used medication group was antipsychotic drugs (92.4%).
Conclusion: Treatment approaches utilized in rural hospitals are in line with the universal trends. However, considerably higher MDA compared to previous studies show that; to provide early diagnosis and better prognosis for ASD patients who live in rural areas, new interventions should be promoted by the local and/or general authorities.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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