Swedish researchers found that almost 70 percent of young Swedes with Asperger’s syndrome in a new study have suffered from depression.
Tove Lugnegård, a researcher and doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg, discovered that mood disorders and anxiety disorders are very common among young adults with Asperger syndrome.
Around 70 percent of the young adults with Asperger’s syndrome in the study reported at least one previous episode of depression, and up to 50 percent had had repeated episodes — a remarkable result given that the mean age of the group was just 27 years.
“The results mean that it’s important that psychiatric care staff keep an eye open for the symptoms of depression in young adults with autism spectrum disorders,” said Lugnegård.
“This goes for both clinics that carry out assessments for autism spectrum disorders, and for general psychiatric care.
“Depression and anxiety can be more difficult to detect in people with autism spectrum because their facial expressions and body language are often not as easy to read, and because they may have difficulties in describing emotions. It’s also important to find out more about how to prevent depression among people with autism spectrum.”
Lugnegård’s research also determined that around one-third of people with Asperger’s syndrome also have ADHD, a finding that confirms previous studies.
Her thesis looks at some of the pscyhiatric and social-cognitive similarities of Asperger’s syndrome and schizophrenia. Both individuals with schizophrenia and those with Asperger’s often have high levels of autistic traits and an impaired ability to interpret social interactions.
“So it would appear that people with schizophrenia and those with Asperger’s syndrome are more similar to each other than previously realized, in terms of both autistic traits and social-cognitive disability,” said Lugnegård.
Source: University of Gothenburg