Untreated Autism Spectrum Disorder Tied to Alcohol, Drug Abuse. An analysis of nearly 6,600 people found that those with autism had a significantly higher risk for substance use disorder (SUD) than those without autism (adjusted hazard ratio 2.33, 95% CI 1.89-2.87)

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That’s just self medicating and also an attempt to feel like you fit in. Tony attwood states “Being part of the drug or gaming culture can provide purpose and structure for the day. There is a sense of achievement in seeking and finding drugs, and an opportunity to leave one’s accommodation and to meet people.”


I realize that /r/science is supposed to be about science and not personal stories and anecdotes, but I’d be interested in hearing how other people with ASD respond to this. I was diagnosed in ~6th grade (first ADHD and depression, later elevated to asperger’s and social anxiety disorder), and recieved various forms of therapy/medication through high school. I stopped all treatments in college since I honestly never liked them that much and was no longer forced to use them. 7 years later, I’m realizing this may have been a mistake, since I’ve developed a fairly serious case of alcohol dependency. I think a lot of people may be tempted to say this is a form of “self medicating”, and I’d be interested in academic research backing that up, but in my experience, I think that may be a bit misleading. I think that for me, and I imagine for people similar to me, alchohol serves a similar purpose as it does to “normal” people, just that the need is more extreme. I have accepted that my brain is not compatible with our current society or social expectations. Some may argue this is a problem with society, but that isn’t a particularly helpful sentiment since (and I don’t use dead memes lightly) we live in a society. Though I can justify this line of thought with autism, it is at the end of the day just alienation, something which everyone experiences to varying degrees. I imagine other people with ASD have different issues, but I can’t imagine any of them aren’t experienced more broadly. So while this is interesting, I see it more as an indication that people with ASD are likely to experience things which are known to lead to substance abuse, which is pretty obvious when you think about it. Unless somewhere in their data that I missed they ran some crazy regression which accounts for emotional states and finds a more direct link between ASD and SUD.


Importance The risk of substance use disorder (SUD) in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains unclear. Objective To investigate the risk of SUD in patients with ASD and its associations with comorbidities, psychotropic agents (PAs), and mortality. Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective, population-based, cohort study of 1 936 512 participants used data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and was conducted from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2015. Included participants attended at least 3 outpatient visits within the 1-year study period for symptomatic ASD as determined by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnostic codes. Individuals diagnosed with ASD before 2000, those diagnosed with SUD before the first visit for ASD, and those with missing data were excluded from the analysis. Patients with ASD and non-ASD controls were matched 1:4 by age, sex, and index date. Exposures Symptomatic ASD evaluated for at least 3 outpatient visits within the 1-year study period.


What does “untreated” mean? Autism is not a disease, there are no cures or treatments.


I’ve been told by multiple therapists and medical professionals that I’m on the spectrum but that I’m old enough and have learned to cope (just) well enough, that testing and verifying was pointless. I have a very hard time with addictive tendencies. I don’t know that there’s a correlation but this study makes sense to me.