Hi my 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with high functioning autism in August 2017. She has never drunk much and says she never experiences thirst. This resulted in her being hospitalised this weekend for rehydration. Even though my daughter is very intelligent I can't get her to believe that she needs to drink more. Even though she ended up in hospital she had no physical shmptoms of dehydration, it was a blood test that highlighted it. As far as my daughter is concerned no physical symptoms = not important. Has anyone else any experience of no sensation of thirst with their ASC CHILD/adult? Thank you.
I wonder if this could be something to do with us not always paying attention to what our bodies are telling us, especially when something else has our attention? I am notorious for getting so into something that I will forget to eat, or not realise that I need to go to the loo until the need is quite urgent.
When I was a kid I would not be aware of the need to eat until it got so urgent that I would feel ill, then it would often be too late as I would feel sick and unable to eat by that point. My perception was that the need to eat came on very suddenly, but I wonder if I was simply not aware of it until it became urgent? I had to start reminding myself to eat at regular intervals in order to avoid getting to this stage. I was even tested for diabetes several times as it is very similar to the kind of crash a diabetic person has if they don't add food for too long a period, but that was found to be not the problem.
Perhaps establishing a routine of "at 10am you have your morning drink of squash and a biscuit" might help your daughter? If having a drink at certain points in the day becomes a habit rather than something she has to plan and think about (and be aware of the need for) it might work better for her. If you are with her, you could have a cup of tea at the same time and make it into a nice stop-and-relax moment for the two of you
I’m exactly the same moggsy and only a regular set routine helps. However, a regular routine isn’t possible for me just yet but I’ve got more awareness around it now and I’m working towards setting up a routine that works. I too was tested for diabetes etc and I’m at the dehydrated weak stage just now but I don’t mind, because when I get things sorted this time, it will be in a way I can sustain. I’d never thought about that before, re: the hunger coming on is just because I didn’t recognise it earlier. Also when I get engrossed in something there’s no way I’m stopping for food or drink.
Until I started reading this thread, I had never considered that being the reason either! I wonder if the appearance of hunger/cold/anything else "coming on suddenly" is just lack of awareness of what our bodies are telling us, or that our attention is simply focussed elsewhere. Eleanor, perhaps your daughter is simply not very aware of these feelings, that would explain the not being bothered to eat too.
Yes. I was reading about interoception and people with autism having significantly lower awareness of their interoceptive signals (thirst, hunger, pain, needing the toilet etc). My daughter also has a very high pain threshold. She is also being diagnosed for coeliac disease due to a positive blood test and I understand it is very common for people with ASC to experience gastro intestinal problems. Poor girl is having a bad time at the moment having only recently been diagnosed with high functioning autism. She doesn't really know what it means to how she lives herr life and how it affects her. She was just given the diagnosis and left to it but we are battling for her and I am encouraging her to join communities such as this to gain some insite. Your experiences are very helpful for me and for my daughter too hopefully. The psychiatrist/psychologists can do therapy but you can't beat discussing it with the people who have to live with it day in day out for a much better understanding. Thank you everyone.
Thank you! (For this Thread.) I had no idea until reading it that my lifelong inability to feel hunger was in any way related to my recent ASD diagnosis!
It makes sense with what moggsysaid re. not paying attention to what our bodies are telling us. I have to deliberately schedule food into my day but it only works some of the time because I can't force myself to eat - I've tried that and it ends with severe stomach cramps.
As a teenager Anorexia was queried with me too but as I never made myself sick, hid food, or did many of the other things then associated with Anorexia, the idea was dropped. I can go through periods of eating a lot, too much over Xmas for instance, but I think that's because there are constant reminders about food at times like that. I never make a conscious effort NOT to eat, it just doesn't occur to me and I can't ever remember actually feeling hungry - at the most I feel guilt or surprise when I realise, for instance, that I've forgotten to eat for a day or so.