Treating Disrupted Sleep

Alter Behavioral Health strives to provide all of the support that a person needs to live a happy, comfortable life. In the past, much of the focus on autism has dealt with pursuing nonexistent cures or molding behavior. As a result, many issues that afflict those with autism have gone largely unexplored and unaddressed, such as sleep and gastrointestinal issues. At Alter Behavioral Health, we strive to understand and support the lives of those with autism as well as those who do not. This means diagnosing and treating issues with sleep as part of a program to truly improve quality of life.

Disrupted Sleep

Not much research exists in the field of sleep quality among adults with autism. In many cases, there’s an extenuating cause of poor sleep such as anxiety or gastrointestinal pain. Disrupted sleep can also be much more subtle, as sufficient length of sleep may hide poor quality. This means that regardless of the amount of sleep, an autistic person may experience less time in important REM sleep.

It’s also possible for a co-occurring disorder to worsen sleep in people with and without autism. Some relatively common sleep disorders include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Night terrors
  • Circadian rythm disorders
  • Restless legs syndrome

Treating Disrupted Sleep

Alter Behavioral Health is dedicated to ensuring that patients have all the support they need to live great lives. This means understanding, diagnosing, and treating the causes of their disrupted sleep. Whether poor sleep is a matter of a sleep disorder or a separate, underlying issue, the Alter Behavioral Health team is ready to help.

Identifying and Treating Causes

There are a handful of common causes of poor sleep. In some cases, poor sleep is the core issue while in others it’s a secondary effect.

Gastrointestinal trouble

Gastrointestinal pain is one aspect of autism that hasn’t been subject to much research. Even with a healthy diet, autistic people are more prone to constipation, diarrhea, and other forms of GI discomfort. In many cases, this pain is sufficient to disrupt sleep, reducing the length as well as the quality. If a patient has poor sleep rooted in GI issues, we’ll be able to address the core issue and help them achieve gastrointestinal comfort and restful sleep.


Anxiety is extremely common in the population with autism. More specifically, as many as one-in-five autistic adults could suffer from an anxiety disorder. With such high instance of anxiety, it’s common that stress and fear result in disrupted sleep. If your anxiety is worsening your sleep, the experts at Alter Behavioral Health will be able to identify this problem and treat it. Depending on the type of anxiety, treatment might consist purely of therapy. In other cases, a mixture of medication and therapy could be the right choice.

Other Reasons

It’s common for autistic people to suffer from comorbid conditions. While the problems that a sleep disorder pose are obvious, seemingly unrelated disorders may harm sleep. For instance, many medications that treat attention-deficit disorder or depression might interfere with sleep. Alter Behavioral Health will consider a patient’s medical history and current medications to identify and treat the causes of poor sleep.

Rest Well with Alter Behavioral Health

The expert team at Alter Behavioral Health are highly familiar with the conditions that contribute to poor sleep in adults. Whether it’s an issue of medication or a comorbid physical issue, they’ll be able to identify and rectify the issue. If you’re adult who struggles with poor sleep, with or without autism, you’ll find the care you need at Alter Behavioral Health.

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