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A Linkedin contact of mine, Van Duy Dao, a pharmacist based in Ha Noi Vietnam, has sent me a message and introduced me to his article about Autism, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Depression. He is trying to connect these conditions with some common cause(s). I am giving below his abstract.

The hidden relation, clues of autism, ADHD and depression which reveals the cause and possible cure

Van Duy Dao


Observing the autistic kids: Autistic kids lack most social skills, communicating, persuading skills; the language is the product of living environment so kids poor in using native language make us think of the quality and quantity of connection to the living environment. People speak their native language naturally without much thinking, but autistic cannot speak well, when they have wants or needs, they cannot express it in an understandable way to the adults so that they cannot get satisfied. Not satisfying the needs make them anger or stress. In the stress state, there are mainly three hormones operate in the body to make the body prepare for fight or flight. These three hormones are Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisone. These hormones will activate many other changing in the body and other hormones so that the body is ready for survival functions. Kids in stress tend to make other stress unconsciously in the downtrend spirals of stress. The more stress kids get, the poorer their learning and the more they will get a low level of social skills. The unsatisfied living environment may make autistic have strange behaviors can be explained by the conditioned response. They have strange responses to normal things, events. And these responses can be summarized into “Fight” or “Flight” or “Indifference”; these responses tell us about the state of mind of the autistic kids. And the pattern of responses, the fluctuation of specific responses to the changing in the environment will give us clues about the cause of autism, ADHD and the prediction and the effective intervention of autism and ADHD.

Figure-1: The effect of stress hormones: The best explanation for many syndromes, rainbows of problems and gut feelings.

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You can go to and read the full article.

I am not in a position to vouch for scientific accuracy of these findings, but it is an interesting thesis. Van Duy Dao has given several references in his article to support this.

He has focused on three stress hormones, namely Adrenaline, Norepinephrine and Cortisol which are produced naturally in our bodies. He proposes that the interaction and interplay of stress hormones causes and creates behavioral problems associated with Autism, ADHD and Depression.

Autism and ADHD have received particular attention in recent times. I remember a Hollywood movie ‘Rainman’ starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise many years ago. Dustin Hoffman is a great actor and he played the role of Autistic elder brother of Tom Cruise. The movie was an award winner. More recently Aamir Khan in Bollywood made the movie ‘Taray Zameen Par’ which is the story of an autistic child. Both movies engage the audience to impress upon them that Autism should be recognized and dealt with compassion and understanding.

In Pakistan, we need more awareness and education on these subjects. Our usual attitude is to deal sternly with the children who do not follow the norms. We refuse to accept even small variation such as writing or eating with left hand and force the children to use ‘right hand’. Autism and ADHD are more complex and there is a great likelihood that these children will be misunderstood and treated as ‘delinquents’, subjecting them to harsh verbal and physical abuse.

All children need delicate care; psychologically-challenged children even more.


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