Depressed adults with Asperger’s at higher risk for suicide

clip art

According to new research, adults who have Asperger’s syndrome are at a much higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts than the rest of the public.

Asperger’s syndrome is on the spectrum

Asperger’s syndrome is a type of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characterized by difficulty with communication, social interaction and repetitive patterns of behavior. People with Asperger’s tend to have good cognitive and language skills which differentiates them from others on the spectrum. Asperger’s is frequently linked with depression although no studies have previously been done on suicidal ideation.

Four times more likely to consider suicide

In this study, researchers found that 66% of participants with Asperger’s reported suicidal thoughts compared to only 17% of the general population and 59% of patients with psychosis. Suicidal thoughts were more common among Asperger adults who had a history of depression. People with a history of depression were four times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and twice as likely to plan a suicide. Those with autistic traits were even more likely to plan or attempt suicide.

Social isolation, loneliness and social exclusion

“Adults with Asperger’s syndrome often suffer with secondary depression due to social isolation, loneliness, social exclusion, lack of community services, underachievement and unemployment. Their depression and risk of suicide are preventable with the appropriate support. This study should be a wake-up call for the urgent need for high quality services, to prevent the tragic waste of even a single life,” said Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge.

Source: Honor Whiteman/MedicalNewsToday, The Lancet Psychiatry

 
disclaimer

The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Yes
50%
No
50%
Total votes: 3977