“We have so much more to learn about the parameters of autism, it’s hard to know at what point a person should receive an additional diagnosis,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Roanoke, VA (PRWEB) September 24, 2012
Autism After 16 today published the first in a series of articles on autism and mental health.
“When Autism and Mental Health Issues Collide” focuses on challenges faced by teens and adults with autism who simultaneously experience mental illness. While studies indicate that a number of adults with autism also face mental health challenges, accurately assessing the presence of a comorbid condition—one that exists alongside the autism diagnosis—can be difficult. Often behavioral challenges are considered to be part of the autism diagnosis, when mental illness is actually present.
“We have so much more to learn about the parameters of autism, it’s hard to know at what point a person should receive an additional diagnosis,” says Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “But there are people who have all of the symptoms of a mental illness in addition to the autism that warrant additional diagnoses.”
When comorbid conditions aren’t accurately diagnosed, treatment becomes difficult. The Autism After 16 article shares the story of a young man whose comorbid mental illness began to threaten his well-being and that of his family. “Coping with mental illness in addition to autism can be extremely complicated,” notes editor Merope Pavlides. “The individual suffers, and so does the family. We want to help drive dialogue about this issue and to encourage families to seek help. And to know that they are not alone.”
Written by Florida-based journalist Cara Nissman, “When Autism and Mental Health Issues Collide” is the first of several articles on mental health that Autism After 16 will publish. The next one will examine mental health concerns in college support programs for students with autism.
Autism After 16 is a website devoted to providing information and analysis of adult autism issues. Over 50 percent of its contributing writers are autistic adults, while many others are family members. Autism After 16 provides informational articles on accessing adult services, commentary, links to useful resources, and a library of videos to help teach independent living skills.