Autism’s Behavioral Comorbidity

According to the Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a study of autistic children assessed for other child psychiatric disorders, found that DSM-IV diagnoses for childhood anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, tic disorders, trichotillomania, enuresis, and encopresis were identified.

Usually, when one disorder also comes with a myriad of others on its tail, we call it “comorbidity”, meaning that two or more exist at the same time. In this case, the numbers were rather interesting. What the study found was that:

  • 70% of participants had at least one comorbid disorder
  • 41% had two or more comorbid disorders
  • 29.2% had social anxiety disorder
  • 28.2% had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • 84% of this with ADHD had a second comorbid disorder as well.

Other examples of Comorbidity include: 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry claims that 30% of those with bipolar I disorder also have ASD.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders stated that adults with ASD in their lifetime suffered from a higher burden of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder and multiple anxiety disorders

Another study from 2011 states that **39.6% of young people with ASD had at least one comorbid DSM-IV anxiety disorder, the most frequent ones being:

  • Specific phobias(29.8%)
  • OCD (17.4%) a
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (16.6%)

If you have a child on the spectrum, chances are that they will also be diagnosed with 1 or more other disorders which have connections to the autistic traits the children portray regularly.

Source: JACAP (Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) May 2015