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Article 20: Autism and Serotonin and Dopamine

Autism Edge Series


I am very excited to share this series with you. Autism Edge was born through the journey I have embarked gathering insight and knowledge along the way. I would love to share what I have learnt in the last 6 years with you.


In this week’s article we are discussing how and why neurotransmitters might aid in certain behaviors of your child.

What a word? Neurotransmitters, sounds very complicated. It is very complicated but we are going to break it down to what important is for autism and make it more understandable. So, what is it? It is the signal or link we need to be able to function every day. Chemical play a big role in our bodies, chemical regulate our mood, appetite and sleep patterns.

They control us and how we experience life. If there is an imbalance of these chemicals in our system, we are in trouble. 


We are going to discuss only two chemicals: Serotonin and Dopamine.


Research have found the link between neurotransmitters and imbalance thereof in brain connectivity between the areas of the brain that play a role and assist in social behaviors and language.


Serotonin is first up. Serotonin is involved in multiple medical problems and is mostly affected by inflammation.


Serotonin, neurotransmitter and hormone, plays a number of roles and is an important controller of neuronal interaction that supports different behaviors and physiological processes.Most of this chemical is made by the gut and therefore the gut (Food that we consume) must be working properly for us to live properly. There is a saying that we have two brains, the actual brain and our gut. It has been shown to regulate the development of the central nervous system and involved in a broad spectrum of behavioral and psychological processes.


Developmental changes in brain serotonin synthesis showed a low ability of whole-brain serotonin synthesis in autistic children compared to non-autistic children, therefore suggest that developmental regulation of serotonin synthesis plays a key role in the pathogenesis of autism. Increased repetitive behaviors and irritability were also seen in autistic children when following the wrong diet plan.

If you experience of see that your child may show these behaviors, it might be because of low levels of Serotonin: Headaches, poor digestion problems, night terrors, sleeping problems, irritation, depression or lack of appetite control.



Dopamine on the other side is a chemical that contributes mostly to focus or lack of focus. It regulates movement and feelings. problems in dopamine circuits have been part of in a wide range of psychiatric disorders. Dopamine has also been linked to autism.

Here are signs of low levels of Dopamine: low levels of attention, focus difficulties and impulse control problems, trouble with handwriting and planning. We see this in students that finds it hard to execute an activity in order or planning out what needs to be done next to complete the instruction, Low levels of motivation, high levels of hyperactivity and low motor control.


When Dopamine levels are too high with phenylalanine can cause behavior disorders.

Toxins, inflammation, infections and gut problems decrease the production of neurotransmitters. 


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