Aspergers and Primary Comorbid Conditions

"When a child has Aspergers Syndrome, what additional disorders is he/she likely to have?"

The answer to this question is often contingent upon the age of the child. Children with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism most often have obsessive-compulsive disorder as a primary comorbid condition, whereas Aspergers teens seem to suffer most with depression. We'll look at each of these in turn:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder--

Researchers have found that certain psychiatric disorders are more common in those who have Aspergers. One of these is obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. In fact, some researchers feel that Aspergers is a subset of OCD. This is especially true when the Aspergers child grows to adulthood. They may have problems with intrusive, obsessive thoughts and might perform certain ritualistic behaviors to control these obsessive thoughts. In some cases, the disorder can be very debilitating.

Medications have been used in those with OCD and Aspergers with some success. The medications stop some of the intrusive thinking and reduce the numbers and severity of compulsive behaviors while the core features of Aspergers do not change much.

Depression--

Because those with Aspergers suffer from social deprivation and feelings of inadequacy, they seem to have a higher incidence of depression as well. The depression becomes a secondary complication of having Aspergers and comes as a result of unmet needs and lack of meaningful communication—things that most people have little difficulty in getting for themselves. Antidepressant medication may be helpful in this type of depression as can psychotherapy directed at the unique problems of the Aspie.


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