Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


Depressed Aspergers Teens and Drug/Alcohol Abuse

Parents often assume that their Aspergers teen tries alcohol and/or drugs to rebel or to "fit in" with his peer group. However, Aspergers teens with undiagnosed depression often use drugs and alcohol as a way to relieve their frustrations. A depressed Aspie may self-medicate with alcohol to escape the terrible sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately, alcohol only exacerbates the problem. Drugs like ecstasy and other club-drug uppers may even make him feel "normal," when for weeks he has felt miserable. The impact of such drugs on serotonin, dopamine and endorphins (i.e., chemicals in the brain that regulate mood) can be devastating for these teenagers. The damage they do to receptors in the brain can make the road back from depression even harder.

Often parents approach the issue of drug and alcohol use as simply a discipline issue for a teen who is "bad." However, your Aspergers teen may be sick. He may be unable to express to you exactly how he feels. If your Aspie is self-medicating to treat depression, anxiety, or other emotional or behavioral disorders, simply applying more discipline and creating more rules will not impact the underlying problem that led to substance abuse in the first place.

While some Aspergers teens self-medicate to treat depression, others end up with a serious mental disorder due to abuse of drugs or alcohol. Abusive drinking or drug use can seriously undermine your teen's physical, emotional, and psychological health. Some drugs, such as methamphetamines, can seriously affect the neurotransmitters, which are known as the "messengers of the brain." Recent studies suggest this damage can be long-lasting and even permanent. Many Aspergers teens have the mistaken notion that club drugs are benign. In fact, while they might feel "good" while taking them, they can make it difficult for the teenager to feel good naturally for a long time to come. The longer teens use these drugs, the more difficult treatment and the higher rate of relapse due to their inability to "feel good" or even "normal" because of the damage to their neurotransmitters.

Is your teen depressed? Answer these questions to find out:

1. Does your teen have little interest in his future?
2. Does your teen drink alcohol?
3. Does your teen smoke cigarettes?
4. Does your teen use drugs?
5. Has your teen quit activities he used to enjoy?
6. Does your teen seem to cry easily?
7. Does your teen seem like he is filled with guilt and remorse?
8. Has your teen been denying food saying he is not hungry?
9. Has your teen been easily agitated?
10. Has your teen been having a difficult time making decisions?
11. Has your teen seemed to have lost his energy?
12. Has your teen withdrawn from you or other family members?
13. Has your teen had recurrent thoughts of death or suicide?
14. Has your teen been falling asleep in class?
15. Has your teen felt hopeless?
16. Has your teen had problems sleeping at night?
17. Has your teen not been focused on what is going on in front of him, and is he often lost in his own thoughts?
18. Has your teen had a dramatic change in personality such as extreme irritability or sadness?
19. Has your teen had a hard time focusing on homework or reading?
20. Has your teen had an overwhelming feeling of sadness for no known reason?
21. Has your teen often feel fatigued, even when he has gotten enough rest?
22. Has your teen spent too much time in his room alone?
23. Has your teen withdrawn from his friends?
24. Has your teenager been over-eating?
25. Have you heard your teen put himself down, making derogatory comments and being overly critical?

If you answered yes to 5 or more of these, then your teen is suffering with depression.

Aspergers teenagers have a difficult time relating their true feelings to others. The world is quite different today, and Aspie teens face so many obstacles. If your Aspergers teen becomes withdrawn and disinterested, it is critical that you intervene in an attempt to see what the trouble may be. Many times a teen will open up to a close friend or family member that they are able to trust. Once a teen gains a comfort level, they will pretty much open up about anything.

Recognizing teen depression can be difficult at times, but it is important to intervene in an attempt to save a life. Teen suicide among Aspergers teens is nothing new. Sometimes just talking things out will help the teenager immensely. However, sometimes it may take more than just a one on one conversation. In severe cases, the teen may benefit from psychological counseling with a professional.

Help for Parents with Aspergers Teens

1 comment:

august sutphin said...

Wish I had seen this before my son committed suicide

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content