Anxiety And Tension

Autism, Anxiety And Depression

With all of the other issues that are involved with autism, depression and anxiety often go unnoticed. This is often because the autistic person is not capable of expressing his emotions adequately. Depression is a complex emotional disorder that affects millions of people. Even people with the best communication skills have difficulty explaining and understanding their depression. A person with autism has extreme difficulty explaining and understanding his depression and anxiety.

 Anxiety is difficult to pinpoint in autistic cases because the autistic person may show symptoms of anxiety on a daily basis. Many tasks can make an autistic very anxious, especially if the task breaks the autistic person’s usual routine. An autistic person relies on order and sameness as a means of understanding his surroundings. Any change in routine can cause great anxiety, but this does not mean that the autistic person has an anxiety disorder.

Depression and anxiety are common in autism and they can be very difficult to treat. It is very difficult to even diagnose the conditions, and once they are identified they are difficult to address because autistic people have so many communication and social obstacles to overcome.

Many choose to treat depression and anxiety in autism with medication. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often used in autistic cases even when the autistic person has not been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Doctors have found that the antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications help autistic people stay on task and decrease stereotyped movements often associated with autistic disorder.

I have worked with one autistic girl for several years. As she got older, she demonstrated some signs of depression and anxiety. Her parents consulted with her doctor who prescribed an antidepressant medication. I added some light therapy and some sensory integration activities into her therapy routine. We also introduced emotions into her program. Her depression and anxiety have lessened and she is functioning very well on the medication. Her attention to tasks has also improved greatly.

Parents who are faced with the possibility of their autistic son’s or daughter’s depression and anxiety may want to consider talking to their child’s doctor. He may have a recommendation that will help lessen the despair and hopelessness associated with depression and anxiety so their child can focus on other things.