Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What Causes Autism In Adults

Don't Miss

Can A Person Develop Autism After Early Childhood

What Causes Autism?

Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

There is no official diagnosis called “late-onset autism.”;In fact, the DSM-5, which lists and describes all developmental and mental disorders states that the onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.

Still, there are plenty of articles out there about children who appear to regress after developing normally throughout their earliest years. And there are plenty of people who seem to develop autistic symptoms as teens or even adults.

So does regressive or late-onset autism actually exist? What do we know about it so far?

What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:

  • Autistic disorder.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
  • Asperger syndrome.

People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:

  • Inflexible interests.
  • Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
  • Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
  • Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.

How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.

Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.

There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.

ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a persons life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

Recommended Reading: Does Autism Shorten Life Span

Those With Asd Find Many Ways To Deal With Their Anxiety

Being highly anxious most of the time is emotionally and physically exhausting and can lead to hyper-alertness, constant vigilance/racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, and stress-related medical conditions. So how can a person with an ASD cope with an almost constant feeling of nervousness and fear? There are many strategies that are known to effectively alleviate anxiety. While some are helpful, there are a handful of strategies that should be avoided.

10 Strategies Frequently Used to Cope With ASD and Anxiety


6. Sleep

Autism Causes The Reality

Infographic: Do you know what causes Autism Spectrum ...

Nobody has really nailed down the exact cause of autism. Although there are some highly confident studies on causation, most everything you hear is simply speculation and statistics at this point. Some of these studies are well done and have convinced us of some connections. Hopefully, there will be more answers as more studies and trials are implemented going forward.

There has been much speculation about vaccines causing autism. To date, there has been no scientific evidence to back this assumption. There can be possible catalysts to expedite the symptoms, but even that is speculation.

With that in mind, heres what science speculates, so far, as possible causes. This list is in no specific order.

You May Like: What Causes Autism Exploring The Environmental Contribution

Research Early Signs And Treatment

There’s been widespread controversy about a possible connection between vaccines and the soaring autism rates. Some parents of children whose autistic symptoms first appeared shortly after their measles-mumps-rubella immunization are convinced the shot was the cause, but repeated studies have failed to find scientific evidence. Although one small, heavily publicized British study published in 1998 suggested a link, 10 of the 13 authors publicly retracted the findings in March 2004, saying they were unreliable. The study, lead by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, only studied a small sample of 12 kids, eight of whom were diagnosed with autism. By early 2010, the same British journal, The Lancet, that published his findings retracted his study and in January 2011, the British Medical Journal publicly denounced Dr. Wakefield’s research as “fraudulent.” The British Medical Journal announced that Dr. Wakefield had “falsified data” and tampered with his research results to give the MMR vaccine bad publicity. At the time of his study, Dr. Wakefield had been involved in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine and would have gained money if he’d won, making his research an obvious conflict of interest.

Development In Autistic Children

Children with ASDs develop differently from other children. Children without ASDs develop at about the same rate in areas of development such as motor, language, cognitive, and social skills. Children with ASDs develop at different rates in different areas of growth. They might have large delays in language, social, and cognitive skills, while their motor skills might be about the same as other children their age. They might be very good at things like putting puzzles together or solving computer problems, but not very good at some things most people think are easy, like talking or making friends.

Children with ASDs might also learn a hard skill before they learn an easy one. For example, a child might be able to read long words, but not be able to tell you what sound a b makes. A child might also learn a skill and then lose it. For example, a child may be able to say many words, but later stop talking altogether.

Read Also: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

Variability In Adults With Autism

Not all adults with autism are alike.

  • Some adults with autism have successful careers in demanding fields such as information technology, robotics, and video game production.
  • Some work part-time while also taking advantage of day programs and resources.
  • Some are unable to function in the workplace and spend their days in sheltered settings.
  • Some adults on the spectrum are happily married or partnered.
  • Others have romantic friendships.
  • A significant number are unable to form meaningful, reciprocal relationships with peers.

These vast differences make it just as tough to define or provide services for adults with autism as for children on the spectrum.

Autism Treatment For Adults

What Causes Autism?

If your child has autism spectrum disorder and is transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, you can benefit from an expert team of specialists at University of Maryland Medical System that includes neurologists, psychologists and social workers.

The is located in a quiet part of Baltimore and is the ideal setting for treating adults with autism.

To make an appointment, call;.

Treatment for children with autism is available at the .

Recommended Reading: Is Dr Shaun Murphy Really Autistic

Sex Differences In Sensory Processing In Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Service des Troubles du Spectre de lAutisme et apparentés, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland


Anne Manuela Maillard, Service des Troubles du Spectre de lAutisme et apparentés CHUV, Les Allières, Av. de Beaumont 23, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Service des Troubles du Spectre de lAutisme et apparentés, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland


Anne Manuela Maillard, Service des Troubles du Spectre de lAutisme et apparentés CHUV, Les Allières, Av. de Beaumont 23, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Dont Miss: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

Treatment And Medication Options For Autism

Treatment for autism typically includes a combination of behavioral therapies, dietary approaches, medications, and complementary and alternative medicine approaches that best meet the needs of the individual.


Because autism varies so much from person to person in terms of symptoms and abilities, treatments must be customized, Frazier explains. But in general, early intervention is typically better, and all treatment tends to involve the child’s family working closely with a team of doctors and caregivers.

Don’t Miss: Autistic Life Expectancy

Autism Is A Genetic Disorder

Although autism was once believed to be the result of improper parenting, researchers now believe that genesnot psychological factorsare to blame. In fact, a 2019 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that 80% of autism risk comes from inherited genetic factors. The study was widespread, looking at 2 million people from five countries .

If a couple has one;child with autism, there is a 5 to 10 percent chance that siblings will have some sort of autistic disorder. With identical twins, the likelihood is 60 percent. Even though profoundly autistic people rarely have children, researchers often find that a relative has mild autistic symptoms or a high-functioning autism-spectrum disorder.

Experts believe that autism is the result of multiple genes ;anywhere from three to 20 ;interacting with each other. This may explain why the symptoms and severity of the disorder vary greatly. These genes may cause a baby’s brain to develop abnormally in utero or make him more susceptible to unknown triggers. “There is probably a combination of genetic and environmental influences,” says Catherine Lord, Ph.D., director of the Center for Autism and Communication Disorders at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Although the genes linked to autism have not yet been pinpointed, intense research is under way.

Endogenous Opiate Precursor Theory

Autism Spectrum Disorder

In 1979, Jaak Panksepp proposed a connection between autism and opiates, noting that injections of minute quantities of opiates in young laboratory animals induce symptoms similar to those observed among autistic children. The possibility of a relationship between autism and the consumption of gluten and casein was first articulated by Kalle Reichelt in 1991.

Opiate theory hypothesizes that autism is the result of a metabolic disorder in which opioid peptides gliadorphin and casomorphin, produced through metabolism of gluten and casein , pass through an abnormally permeable intestinal wall and then proceed to exert an effect on neurotransmission through binding with opioid receptors. It has been postulated that the resulting excess of opioids affects brain maturation, and causes autistic symptoms, including behavioural difficulties, attention problems, and alterations in communicative capacity and social and cognitive functioning.

Don’t Miss: Aspergers And Stuttering

Here We Set You Straight On 8 Common Myths About Autism

  • Autism is;caused by vaccines;The biggest myth of all is that vaccines, specifically the MMR vaccine, cause autism. The safety of vaccinations has been repeatedly tested across large groups of people. High quality research studies involving hundreds of thousands of people have consistently shown that vaccinations do not cause autism.
  • Autism is a childhood condition;Autism is lifelong.;In fact in the UK there are more autistic adults than children. Autistic adults have been overlooked in research, though, so we’re supporting a number of studies to find the best ways to support them at every stage of their life. Research suggests that outcomes can change for people over time if they get the right support, for example with language and communication and anxiety.
  • Autistic people have a special talent;We know a lot of parents and autistic adults get asked about this, and it can be frustrating. We all have strengths and weaknesses and autistic people are no different. Being autistic doesn’t necessarily make you the next Einstein. Research suggests that around 28% of autistic people have special talents but we don’t know why.
  • Only boys are autistic;Autism appears to be more common in boys. But girls are more likely to ‘mask’ their autism, learning the skills to interact with the world better than boys. This can mean that many autistic girls get a diagnosis much later in life than boys.
  • Causes And Risk Factors Of Autism

    The medical community has yet to definitively explain why autism develops in some individuals and not in others. But there are several risk factors, both genetic and environmental, that have been found to be associated with the disorder, Veenstra-Vanderweele says.

    There are other potential risk factors. Prenatal exposure to some medications, premature birth, low birth weight, as well as the age of an individual’s parents, may raise the odds. But a lot more research needs to be done to better understand those connections, Veenstra-Vanderweele says.


    Parents and pediatricians need to work together to communicate to everyone the fact that vaccinations do not cause autism, Veenstra-Vanderweele says. Not vaccinating children puts those children at higher risk for diseases and increases the risk of those diseases spreading to others.

    Translational PsychiatryJAMA Network Open

    Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Pet For An Autistic Child

    Severe Versions Of Autism Symptoms

    To qualify for an autism spectrum diagnosis, a person must have symptoms significant enough to impair daily life. Every autistic person must have social, communication, and sensory challenges that make life more difficult/

    Even so-called “high functioning” autism can be very challenging. But those challenges rise to a very different level for people with “severe” autism.

    Pharmacological And Dietary Interventions

    What Causes AUTISM: 5 things YOU Need To Know

    The management of ASD is essentially non-pharmacological. However, certain drugs may be considered for the management of coexisting psychiatric or neurodevelopmental conditions and may occasionally have a short-term adjunctive role in alleviating core symptoms of ASD. Any pharmacological intervention should only be undertaken by doctors with appropriate training in the care of people with ASD.

    Do not use the following interventions for the management of core features of autism in children and young people: antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, exclusion diets .

    You May Like: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

    Child With Autism=adult With Autism

    Despite stories you may have read on the Internet, it is incredibly rare for a child accurately diagnosed with autism to become an adult who is no longer diagnosable.

    Yes, children with autism may build skills and workarounds that make autism less obvious. Yes, teens with autism may learn social skills and be able to “pass” in some situations. But no, a child with autism won’t just get over their autism to become a typical adult.

    Severity Levels For Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Level 3 Requiring very substantial support

    Social Communication Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiation of social interactions, and minimal response to social overtures from others. For example, a person with few words of intelligible speech who rarely initiates interaction and, when he or she does, makes unusual approaches to meet needs only and responds to only very direct social approaches

    Restricted, Repetitive Behaviors Inflexibility of behavior, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress/difficulty changing focus or action.

    Level 2 Requiring substantial support

    Social Communication Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place; limited initiation of social interactions; and reduced or; abnormal responses to social overtures from others. For example, a person who speaks simple sentences, whose interaction is limited; to narrow special interests, and how has markedly odd nonverbal communication.

    Level 1 Requiring support

    Restricted, Repetitive Behaviors Inflexibility of behavior causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems with organization and planning.

    Recommended Reading: Is James Holzhauer Autistic

    Autism Shutdown: The Causes And How To Manage It

    By;Claire Delano, BA

    Have you ever felt so exhausted you wished you could just reboot like a computer? We all get tired, but we can usually wait for a free moment to recharge. Sometimes, though, an overheated computer will turn off without warning. This is similar to what some people with autism experience when they get overwhelmeda shutdown.

    Shutdowns are related to meltdowns. In both situations, an autistic persons brain becomes so stressed that he/she cant control his/her reaction. In the case of a meltdown, he/she may cry, scream, hit, and kick.;

    Six Constructive Coping Strategies For Anxiety


    As noted in the table above, there are many constructive strategies that can be used to cope with anxiety. These strategies can be divided into six major groups that provide a range of anxiety reduction solutions.

    1. Physical Activity

    Physical activities and regular exercise are a ways of releasing emotional energy and clarifying thinking. People who have an ASD are notoriously poorly coordinated and, sometimes, being clumsy in sporting activities during the school years and being teased by peers regarding physical abilities and dexterity can lead to the belief that physical activity is to be avoided. However, we know that physical activity can be more effective than medication and even psychotherapy in alleviating anxiety. It may help to consult a personal trainer who can assess body type and personality to determine which physical activities would be most effective. This does not have to be team sports, and can include solitary practice sports such as cycling, swimming, horseback riding, or going to the gym. Regular exercise is excellent for mental and physical health. And, Asperger qualities of perfectionism and determination can contribute to success in a chosen sport. I know of several famous sports personalities who have Asperger’s syndrome who serve as great examples.

    2. Relaxation

    3. Special Interests

    4. Being With Animals or a Favorite Person

    5. Diet and Nutrition

    6. Sleep

    Read Also: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

    More articles

    Popular Articles