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March 14, 2012 at 9:29 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Depression a Common Problem in Young Adults with Asperger's

By Brad Plaggemars More Blogs by This Author

Welcome back to Mental Marvels-where the focus is brain behavior and mental phenomenons.

Today, I thought that I would, again, examine Asperger's Syndrome.  In my last entry I discussed the differences and similarities between Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD (Asperger's and ADHD, What's the Difference?).  In this entry, I decided to focus solely on Asperger's and an issue that is becoming more common in young adults with Asperger's Syndrome: depression.

The Study

A recent study conducted by Swedish researchers revealed that nearly 70% of young adults in Sweden with Asperger's Syndrome suffer from depression.  Researcher and doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg, Tove Lugnegård, found that mood disorders and anxiety disorders are a very common problem among young adults diagnosed with Asperger's.

The researchers that conducted the study discovered that approximately 70% of the young adults with Asperger's had previously experienced at least one episode of depression, while about 50% of those in the study reported to have had repeated episodes of depression.  They also found that the average age of those who participated in the study was 27 years old.

Lugnegård says:

"The results mean that it’s important that psychiatric care staff keep an eye open for the symptoms of depression in young adults with autism spectrum disorders...Depression and anxiety can be more difficult to detect in people with autism spectrum because their facial expressions and body language are often not as easy to read, and because they may have difficulties in describing emotions. It’s also important to find out more about how to prevent depression among people with autism spectrum."

Further Findings

In the last entry I wrote regarding the differences and similarities between Asperger's and ADHD, I didn't mention that a person could be diagnosed with both Asperger's and ADHD.  This means that a person can possess symptoms of both Asperger's and ADHD.  Lugnegård's research exposed that around one-third of the participants with Asperger's Syndrome also had ADHD, which confirms studies that had performed previously.


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