A case report of naltrexone treatment of self-injury and social withdrawal in autism
- Cite this article as:
- Walters, A.S., Barrett, R.P., Feinstein, C. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (1990) 20: 169. doi:10.1007/BF02284716
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The endogenous opiate release theory of self-injurious behavior (SIB) was investigated through double-blind placebo-controlled administration of naltrexone hydrochloride (Trexan ®) to a 14-year-old autistic and mentally retarded male for treatment of severe SIB. Results yielded a marked decrease in SIB during two phases of active drug treatment, though SIB did not revert to originally observed placebo levels during a second placebo phase. An increase in social relatedness also was observed during phases of active drug treatment. Opiate theories of self-injury and the possible interrelationship of self-injury with pituitary-adrenal arousal and with social relatedness are discussed.