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Is Autism A Mental Illness Uk

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Are You In Need Of Support

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To find support in your area, call or email our InfoLine or contact your local Mind. Ambitious About Autism have information about making the most out of your visit to a psychiatrist. National Autistic Society have a directory of support for people with autism and mental health problems.Counselling Directory can help you find a therapist with experience working with people with autism. These counsellors would be paid for.Please see our page on finding a therapist to consider which option is right for you.

“I have experienced services that treat mental health and autism as completely separate issues and both services seem fearful of people with the other condition.”

Useful Things To Consider When Seeking Support For Co

When seeking support for a co-occurring mental health condition, it would be advisable for Autistic adults and youth to keep a few things in mind. First, it is important to find a professional who is willing to make accommodations at the request of their clients. Second, a common problem many adults on the spectrum experience is running into mental health professionals who see their role as treating autism instead of assisting a person with the co-occurring mental health challenges that are the cause of more significant problems in their life. It is valuable to look for a professional who accepts that their new client is Autistic and will remain so, and that they are looking for help on improving their quality of life as an Autistic person, not as someone trying to be normal. Finally, keep in mind that when seeking mental health supports, peer support options are an important and valid way of improving quality of life. Much of the best support systems in the mental health world come from people with similar functional challenges supporting each other. These types of supports are exceedingly valuable.

What Is The Prevalence Of Asc

Autism is estimated to affect at least 1 in 100 people. The number of people identified with ASC appears to be rising, possibly reflecting increasing awareness and identification, rather than any change in the number of people affected.; Seemingly, ASC affects more boys than girls although this may be because of underdiagnosis in females: the ratio used to be quoted as 4:1 male:female, but is now considerably less. Around half of people with autism also have a learning disability , while the rest do not, and therefore have so-called high-functioning ASC, which includes what used to be called Aspergers Syndrome.

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Comparison With Existing Literature

Three overarching factors that contribute to the decision to self-manage were identified in this study: personal beliefs about mental health in autism, a preference of self-reliance, and views on support. These reflect themes in the literature on young people and help seeking with respect to mental health problems, but from the perspective of autistic young adults.

First, research shows that how young people label mental or emotional distress, for example, as ânormalâ or severe, can promote an attitude of self-reliance., The present findings suggest that, for autistic young adults without LD, mental health difficulties can be perceived as âdifferentâ in autism, and require different ways of managing.,

Second, similar to other research, the present study found a preference for self-devised strategies for difficulties that autistic young adults were familiar with, which they may have found hard to communicate, and which they perceived as being not well understood by others. This is not problematic per se, however, knowing that self-management can become generalised for mental health difficulties of a range of severity, and, given that more acute and severe problems appeared to render usual self-management strategies ineffectual and unhelpful, it is possible that the young adults were not using the most adaptive strategies. For example, avoidance and withdrawal were both often cited as ways of managing emotional distress.

Deficits In Social Communication

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Children with autism may hyper-focus on their areas of particular interest, essentially ignoring the interests and concerns of others. In autism, this behavior is the result of deficits in social communication; in essence, children with autism may be unaware that others have thoughts and feelings different from their own.

This could be another potential area of misdiagnoses, however, since the behavior itself can very much resemble some of the self-obsession that may be present in narcissistic personality disorder.

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Diagnosis In Older Children And Adolescents

ASD symptoms in older children and adolescents who attend school are often first recognized by parents and teachers and then evaluated by the schools special education team. The schools team may perform an initial evaluation and then recommend these children visit their primary health care doctor or doctors who specialize in ASD for additional testing.

Parents may talk with these specialists about their childs social difficulties including problems with subtle communication. These subtle communication issues may include problems understanding tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language. Older children and adolescents may have trouble understanding figures of speech, humor, or sarcasm. Parents may also find that their child has trouble forming friendships with peers.

What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.

The signs include the following:

  • Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
  • Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
  • Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
  • Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
  • No words by 16 months.
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Asd

Not all people with ASD will have all of the signs and symptoms of the disorder, although most will experience several. Signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder include:

  • Making little or no eye contact
  • Not looking at or listening to people
  • Failure to respond to someone trying to get their attention
  • Having problems having back-and-forth conversations
  • Having facial expressions, gestures, and movements that don’t match what’s being said
  • An unusual tone of voice
  • Trouble understanding others’ points of view or predicting others’ actions
  • Unusual behaviors or repeating certain behaviors
  • Intense, lasting interest in certain topics
  • Overly focused interests
  • Inability to cope with changes in routine
  • Greater or lesser sensitivity than neurotypical people to sensory input, such as noise or temperature

People with autism also have marked strengths, which may include:

The ability to remember information for a long time

Being a strong visual and auditory learner

Excelling in a particular subject, such as math, art, or music

Causes And Risk Factors

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While scientists dont know the exact causes of ASD, research suggests that genes can act together with influences from the environment to affect development in ways that lead to ASD. Although scientists are still trying to understand why some people develop ASD and others dont, some risk factors include:

  • Having a sibling with ASD
  • Having older parents
  • Having certain genetic conditionspeople with conditions such as Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome are more likely than others to have ASD
  • Very low birth weight

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Understanding Of Mental Health And Autism

Most interviewees discussed experiences related to their mental health, which they believed were âcommonâ to, or shared with, other autistic young adults, but âdifferentâ from those that non-autistic young adults encounter., Typically, the perceived difference was described in terms of frequency or duration, such as experiencing things more often, for a longer period, or intensity:â⦠itâs normal to feel stressed ⦠but I might feel stressed a little bit more.â

These experiences, mainly related to anxiety or low mood, could be brief or long lasting. Participants typically identified specific triggering situations, such as social encounters or new environments, which reflected their understanding of autism-related difficulties. Frequency of experiences depended on how often triggers were encountered with impacts subsiding once a trigger had been removed or had become less threatening:â⦠when I started ⦠I was so nervous I couldnât speak clearly and I was shaking ⦠it was a major change ⦠I settled down after a few days ⦠I got used to the routine.â

There were consistent features in these more intense episodes. One such feature was an indication that the experience was of a different severity and impact. The language used was more marked or graphic. Physical cues were typically an indication of their level of distress:â⦠it was quite severe ⦠I could see myself dropping in weight.â

The Importance Of Knowing Your Normal

Our research involved listening to young autistic people, but this isnt enough how do we meet their mental health needs? More needs to be done to support young autistic people to work out what normal mental health is for them, so they can identify when somethings not quite right.;

Ambitious about Autisms volunteers have developed a toolkit for young autistic people that aims to address just this issue. ;This freely available resource helps young people describe what normal is for them, such as how often they sleep and how much time they spend on their hobbies. Not only does this help them to identify if and how their normal changes , it can be used to help them to explain this to other people .;

We also need more initiatives to reduce stigma around autism and mental health problems, increased training for professionals working with young autistic people, and greater involvement of autistic people in the design and delivery of services that, ultimately, affect them. As with all young people, those on the autism spectrum need and deserve the very best support to help them lead flourishing lives. Only by listening to and learning from young autistic people will we be able to achieve that goal.

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Dear Abby: Is Autism A Mental Iillness

Posted July 31, 2008

Note to readers: Following the tradition established by Sigmund Freud to many psychiatrists it is among the greatest of his contributions I will be abandoning my office for much of August, to enjoy vacation time and to work on longer writing projects. As a result,I expect to post here less frequently. Enjoy the summer!//pdk

How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.

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Common Traits Autistic People Experience

Some common traits many autistic people experience include:

  • difficulty recognising or understanding other people’s emotions and expressing their own
  • being over- or under-sensitive to things like loud noises and bright lights, and finding crowded noisy spaces challenging
  • preferring familiar routines and finding unexpected changes to those routines challenging or distressing
  • having intense and specific interests in things
  • difficulties reading body language, understanding sarcasm and facial expressions

All of these traits can be experienced to lesser or greater degrees. Experiencing one or more of these traits doesnt necessarily mean you are autistic. But if these kinds of things are consistently present and are impacting upon your life, you may consider talking to your GP to discuss how you can seek a formal diagnosis.

  • As part of my autism, I tend to take things very literally.


  • For those on the spectrum anxious about the future, I want to instill a sense of belief that I know many of us lack. The truth is every day we overcome our condition in so many different ways.


The Strange Battle Over What’s Psychiatric Versus Neurological

There was an interesting exchange this past Tuesday on CNNs Anderson Cooper show about whether autism is a mental illness versus some other kind of developmental or neurological state. The two guests were Dr. Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and regular speaker on CNN, and Liza Long, an author, fellow PT blogger, and mental health advocate. The guests were discussing the new revelations that the gunman in the Roseburg, Oregon shootings may have been diagnosed with Aspergers at one time. For most of the interview, the two guests were in complete agreement and said many things that should be said, such as reminding viewers that people on the autism spectrum are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. But then Dr. Walsh veered in a different direction and made the comment that, by the way, Aspergers was not a mental illness but rather a description of people who are not neurotypical. Dr. Walsh also implied, incorrectly, that the reason Aspergers was removed from the official catalogue of psychiatric disorders in the DSM-5 manual was in recognition of this recategorization. Liza politely objected to the idea that autism should be carved out this way and argued that such boundaries were artificial and potentially harmful.

For more reading on a related topic, please see my earlier post, What If We All Got Mentally Sometimes?

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Myth: People With Autism Don’t Want Friends

Truth: Surely, there are some people with autism who choose to stay away from other people, but the vast majority enjoy socializing and want to have friends. But some dont know how to interact with others, and they may make social mistakes that leave them feeling anxious about interacting with people in the future.

Mental Illness Vs Developmental Disorder

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Mental illnesses are health conditions that involve changes in mood, emotion, thinking, and behaving. They are associated with mental distress and problems with social functioning. Around one in five adults in the United States has some form of mental illness at any given time, according to the American Psychiatric Association.1 The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depression. Mental illness can occur at any age and is treatable with medication, therapy, or a combination of medication and therapy.

One in Five Adults Have a Form of Mental Disorder

Developmental disorders like autism differ from mental illness in several important ways. Developmental disorders generally appear at birth or during childhood and are diagnosed by the age of 18. While mental illness doesnt typically interfere with cognitive abilities, a developmental disorder may impact a persons ability to learn or to understand certain thoughts. Unlike mental illness, which can be successfully treated, developmental disorders are lifelong disabilities.

Autism is 4 Times More Common in Boys Than Girls

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Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder

The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.

Myth: People With Autism Have Amazing Counting Skills

Truth: Some people who have autism have savant skills, such as being able to recite the phone book or calculate complicated mathematical problems in their head. But most dont, although many people with autism have impressive strengths, such as a good visual memory, that help them get by in the world.

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Losing Control Of Emotions

Children with autism often lose control of their emotions and experience meltdowns . In autism, meltdowns are almost always the result of either sensory assaults, anxiety, frustration, or a combination of all three.

In a child who has not been diagnosed with autism, however, the symptoms may look like oppositional;defiant disorder which is considered a behavioral disorder.

Children with higher-functioning autism may also receive a range of inappropriate diagnoses before receiving their autism diagnosis. Some of the most common include ADHD, hyperlexia, learning disabilities, and speech delays.

It’s important to note that some children with very high functioning autism may not be diagnosed until they are well into their teens or even adulthood. When that happens, it can be tricky. Developmental disabilities usually appear in childhood, and it may be necessary to dig into an individual’s past to unearth signs that disabilities existed prior to adulthood.

If childhood information isn’t readily available, it may be impossible to provide an autism spectrum diagnosis even if it is the most appropriate diagnosis based on symptoms and behavior.

Diagnosing Autistic Spectrum Disorder

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Signs of ASD in your child can be seen in early childhood, where a difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication such as using limited or no speech even after the age of two, not waving goodbye at an appropriate age, or having only a small variety of facial expressions, can be early signs of the condition. These difficulties become more apparent when your child is of school age when social interaction is increasingly complex.

Your child may have a diagnostic assessment for ASD as young as three years old, but many people are not diagnosed with high functioning autism until adolescence or much later in life, as the impact of these symptoms is often not as extreme as other forms of autism.

You dont have to struggle with a mental health condition; expert treatment is available. Get the support you need today by calling us on: 0800 840 3219 or sending an enquiry form online.

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