A Case Study on Ayurvedic Management of Unmadam with special reference to Childhood Autism
Autism is one of the main concern of pediatrics in the present era. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown etiology (1). It begins in early childhood. It is characterized by impairment in communication skills, social interactions and reciprocity, and imagination and play(2). The features of Autism are much similar to that of Unmada (disease of mind characterized by mental confusion etc.), a disease condition mentioned in Ayurvedic classics. Due to various etiological factors, the conjunction between Atma (the self) and Manas (mind) is disrupted resulting in the vitiation of Manovaha srotas (channels of consciousness that flow through mind). Along with this, the vitiation of three doshas (the three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity namely Vata, pitta, and Kapha) will result in the manifestation of Unmada. The characteristic features of Unmada as per Ayurvedic classics are: Manovibhrama (perversion of mind), Budhi vibhrama (perversion of intellect), Samjnajnana vibhrama (impaired sensory perception), Smruti vibhrama (impairment of memory), Bhakti vibhrama (abnormal desires), Sheela vibhrama (inappropriate manners and behaviors), Cesta vibhrama (abnormal activities), Achara vibhrama (loss of learned skills(3). By analyzing the etiopathology and clinical features of Autism, it can be included under the broad spectrum of Unmada. (4) A 7-year-old male child was presented with the complaints of making a peculiar sound always, poor eye contact, impaired socialization and communication, unaware of the danger, thumb sucking and hyperactivity and facial dysmorphism. A systematic Ayurvedic treatment consisting primarily of Vata-Pitta hara chikitsa (treatment for pacifying Vata and Pitta) along with Deepana (drugs for enhancing digestive power), Snehana-swedana (oleation and sudation therapies), Srotosodhana (cleansing of channels), Brumhana (nourishing treatments) and Medhya rasayana (drugs for promoting intellectual and cognitive functions) and pathya krama (congenial diet and habits) resulted in considerable relief of the condition.
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