Can autism turn into depression?

Autism and depression in young adults
Autism and depression in young adults

Autism and depression in young adults can go hand in hand. People with autism have a lifetime rate of depression. In contrast, people are nearly 4 times at risk of developing the symptoms of depression. Diagnosing the symptoms of depression in people with ASD is difficult to identify. This is because there is no psychometric instrument that can effectively measure or detect depression. Researchers are still trying to work on the interventions that may help people with autism. If you or anyone you know is going through adverse depressive changes you can consider talking to the experts of Lotus Hospital.

Autism and depression and related facts

  • Depression in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) greatly impacts the lives of people. This can increase the need for medications and the risk of self-harm.
  • It is the major responsibility of the clinicians to understand the unique challenges. They need to measure the interventions and provide complete help to such patients so that they do not feel lonely. Autistic people remain at continuous risk of developing a depressive mode.
  • Depression and autism affects the quality of life. Moreover, it tends to bring down the confidence of the person in general.

Challenges of diagnosing depression in autistic people

Depression and autism often share common symptoms. The symptoms may overlap with each other, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. People with autism and depression may develop the symptoms like:

  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Low motivation
  • Rumination
  • Flat affect
  • Problems related to appetite
  • Sleeping issues

There are very few patients who will openly discuss and show their symptoms. They may develop the persistent feelings like:

  • Sadness
  • Extreme guilt
  • Worthlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Many of the symptoms of depression and autism are treatable through medications. However, flat affect often becomes difficult to diagnose and treat. In many cases, depression shows worse behavior in the patients. Patients become more socially withdrawn, become aggressive, increase their self-harm behavior and develop a sense that everyone wants to seek some profit from them.

People with autism and depression may develop worse situations like:

  • sleep disturbances
  • psychomotor retardations, and
  • extreme changes in their body movement, body weight, movements of limbs, and the way of talking.
  • Depression becomes common for people with autism. Such people suffer because of maladaptive behaviors over time.

What do you need to consider in regards to autism and depression in young adults?

It is important to gain thorough knowledge and understanding of the people with ASD and depression symptoms. It is important to measure the baseline of their emotions, behavior, and their attitude. Similarly, it is important to note their activities or how they behave when they are at the point of being depressed. People with autism and depression may face learning issues. They may also develop a family history of depression and ASD. Therefore, it becomes important for the family members of such people to treat them with patients.

  • Physicians who are not familiar with the nature of the person or patient may find it difficult to treat and diagnose depression in ASD people.
  • Since psychometric instruments are lacking, the doctors can strongly recommend talking to the patient. They can help to gather information regarding how they behave with their parents, caregivers, and other professionals.
  • Adolescents often face ASD symptoms because of depression. They may develop above average IQ and may appear to have low-level symptoms of ASD
  • Depression in people with autism is more like psychiatric comorbidity. Therefore, it can lead to other notable symptoms like anxiety, stressful life, traumatic life, and bullying. 

What are the symptoms of depression in people with autism?

In general, depression affects people with autism in the same way as it affects normal people. But the issue is that the intensity of illogical and unethical behavior increases when a person faces both autism and depression. Autism and depression in young adults may develop the symptoms like:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • physical symptoms, such as feeling tired all the time or during the day

Depression induces many behavioral changes and often colloids with the symptoms of ASD. It can lead to:

  • obsessive behaviors
  • stereotyped behaviors
  • social withdrawal
  • aggressive behavior
  • self-injury
  • sleep disturbance

In general, depression is the kind of disease that is linked to the cognitive health of a person. It is the disease of intellectual issues and epilepsy. Both of these conditions are common in people with autism. However, it is not known whether people with autism develop conditions like intellectual disability and epilepsy as a result of depression or not.

Depression tends to bring suicidal thoughts. It becomes more severe when it attacks people with autism. In contrast, autism tends to increase the suicidal nature of people when they colloid their medical condition with the symptoms of depression.

What are the treatment approaches for autism and depression in young adults?

Depression in people with autism can be treated with the help of medications. There are behavioral therapies that are specific to such people. Your doctor may suggest the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which is one of the typical treatments for depression even in the general population. There are two kinds of drugs that may help you with the treatment. This includes antipsychotic medications that are effective in treating irritability and include examples of risperidone and aripiprazole.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

It is a common technique for reducing the symptoms of depression as it focuses on irritability, anxiety, and aggression. Many CBT programs are now adapting to people with autism and depression. Behavioral therapies help to treat depression and are based on mindful therapy that helps a person to connect socially, vocationally, and behaviorally. It helps to lead a family therapy helping to Jud

  • Systemic Autism-related Family Enabling (SAFE)

It is a new kind of family therapy that majorly focuses on children being diagnosed with ASD. This therapy utilizes a variety of therapeutic activities helping to draw, clay modeling, and performing role-plays. This therapy helps to explore the aspects of ASD. It helps the patient to develop problem-solving nature and cope with strategies.

get the behavior of others in contact with the patient.


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