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mets14032
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13 Apr 2008, 1:31 pm

I have a friend who we just recently found out has Asperger's Syndrome. I was wondering if it's any more dangerous for him to use drugs recreationally. We smoke weed with him pretty much daily, we've all noticed that he gets really high from just a little, he probably smokes about three times less than we do but gets like ten times higher. I have no idea if this is from Asperger's or if it's just him. He also has trouble drinking liquor, like he'll gag and spit it out. We made fun of him for this before but I think it might be because of his Asperger's, it makes him really sensitive to taste.

Anyway, is there any more risk involved for him experimenting with drugs compared to a normal person?

Thanks



anbuend
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13 Apr 2008, 1:50 pm

Most mind-altering drugs, legal or illegal, have unpredictable effects on autistic people, because of our atypical neurology I guess.

Most common effects are things like:

  • Having a stronger effect on a person than usual (e.g. getting drunk on a tiny amount of alcoholic beverages, getting really stoned from a tiny bit of pot, needing to be sure to take way less of something than normal)
  • Having a weaker effect on a person than usual (e.g. smoking pot a bunch of times and never having an effect at all, or needing to take five times as much as anyone else to get an effect)
  • Having a "paradoxical" effect, the opposite of what would normally be expected. (e.g. pot making someone tense and overloaded rather than mellow and relaxed, LSD being calming and making someone's senses less messed up than usual and increasing ability to function normally, speed mellowing someone out.)
  • Just plain having an effect that isn't normally associated with the drug in general. (e.g. severe sensory fragmentation on pot)


Those are all examples that have been experienced by either me or other autistic people I know that have done drugs, or both. I haven't done illegal drugs since I was a kid, but I still have to watch out for weird side-effects of legal drugs, and often have to take them in slightly different doses or schedules than normal to get them to work.

I'm not sure whether it's more risky for us or not (it might even out to being about the same level of risk), but if it is more risky it's because it's more unpredictable. And of course there are always risks with illegal drugs because, beyond just any effects of the drugs, there's not enough monitoring for dose and purity.

And, yes, sensory things can make us avoid alcohol. My autistic brother and I can't stand even the smell of the stuff so we never drink it, which we both think is good because we'd be too likely to become alcoholic if we did.


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jawbrodt
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13 Apr 2008, 1:55 pm

If he also has anxiety problems, I wouldn't recommend taking LSD until the anxiety is under control. It could cause a bad trip. Not fun, and possibly dangerous. Use with caution.


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ButchCoolidge
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13 Apr 2008, 2:22 pm

I don't really agree with the first reply in the sense that all mind altering drugs are *by their very nature* unpredictable. Plenty of NT's have extreme panic attacks on weed, or feel calm under the influence of LSD, or whatever. I do agree that perhaps dosages could be a little more extreme in either direction for aspies, but I don't think the effects of drugs like LSD, marijuana, or alcohol (uppers and downers tend to be extremely predictable in their effects) are much, if at all, more unpredictable when taken by people with AS than by anyone else.

I get super stoned from a tiny bit of weed. But, once again, I know NT's like this too. On the other hand, I often used to drink a six pack and feel only slightly off baseline.

Edit: I should add that I think aspies are at a significantly greater risk of developing addictions to substances due to our love of repetitive behaviors. I told myself I was going to smoke weed "just once" to see what it was like. I was a daily smoker within about six months, and I've had a lot of trouble quitting. By the grace of God I have 56 days today of total sobriety from drugs and alcohol, and it is much needed.



Bart21
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13 Apr 2008, 2:32 pm

I get less stoned from weed than my friends.
If i smoke 2 joints i get just a little stoned.
Alcohol has the same effect on me as it has on most people.
I've noticed people who get totally drunk on like 1 glas of an alcoholic drink.
Others have passed out drinking it.



tourettebassist
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13 Apr 2008, 2:36 pm

I admit I smoke my beer. If you only smoke 2-3 hit then you get high. When you smoke more than that, You get stoned. Pretty simple !



anbuend
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13 Apr 2008, 3:25 pm

Note that I did not say that autistic people are the only people to have unusual reactions, just that we are more likely than usual to have unusual reactions.

Your reply is sort of like saying, "Women are not more prone to breast cancer than men, men can get it too!" The existence of men who get breast cancer does not negate the fact that women get it more often. The existence of NTs who have unusual reactions to mind-altering drugs does not negate the fact that autistic people (and other neuro-atypical people for that matter) are more prone to them.


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ButchCoolidge
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13 Apr 2008, 4:09 pm

Well, that's not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is that I don't think autistic people are more likely to react unusually than NT's, other than of course the fact that we "act unusually" in general. Maybe we are slightly more likely to react unusually, but if, let's say, NT's experience unusual effects 30% of the time, perhaps aspies experience them 35% of the time. Not a difference worth noting, in my opinion.



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13 Apr 2008, 4:30 pm

Well, it's not PC to say so, but the truth is, both THC and alcohol can go a long way toward easing the social anxieties of AS. I'm a lot less likely to be constantly glancing at the door in a peer group gathering if I'm buzzed. And much more comfortable engaging strangers in conversation (although it doesn't prevent the rambling obsessive monologues on pet subjects).On the other hand, I have a thing about unfamiliar restrooms, which presents a whole different set of anxieties. 8O



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13 Apr 2008, 4:35 pm

Recreational drug use is stupid, no matter who you are.


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Willard
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13 Apr 2008, 4:50 pm

spoken like a true closed mind.



ButchCoolidge
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13 Apr 2008, 4:51 pm

I don't doubt that some aspies have had great success with using alcohol and weed as a social lubricant, but for me it has mostly resulted in more awkwardness than ever. Sometimes I get it just right, but usually I either get so drunk or high that I lose my filter completely and up saying something really embarrassing/offensive, or the weed makes me very quiet, introspective, and self-conscious.



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13 Apr 2008, 5:31 pm

I've never really been tempted by recreational drug use. And of then my anti-cure views have spilled over to create a paranoia about altering my thought process through any means. So in my case Asperger's Syndrome has effectively guaranteed that I will be drug free for my entire life. And like almost everything else about me, I wouldn't have it any other way.

So I guess this doesn't really help you much. Although I see the logic in different brain wiring reacting differently to recreational drugs.


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jawbrodt
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13 Apr 2008, 6:00 pm

Willard wrote:
spoken like a true closed mind.


No doubt. Drug use has provided me with abundant knowledge that isn't accessible elsewhere. It has made me a much more well-rounded person.


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wellywomble
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13 Apr 2008, 6:13 pm

Mikomi wrote:
Recreational drug use is stupid, no matter who you are.


I agree.