Autism: the risk of anxiety doubles in children who have ADHD


Autistic children who also suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are twice as likely to develop anxiety, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics a few days before the World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with similar characteristics may be linked in some individuals.

A study conducted on 3,319 children with autism aged 6 to 17, almost half (1,503) also had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), an abnormality of disability-related behavior, which makes the children unable to maintain attention and stay in place (hyperactivity). According to the American Psychiatric Association, 5% of American children have ADHD.

In the study, the children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder were twice as likely to experience anxiety and almost three times as likely to experience other mood disorders. These mental disorders were more prevalent among older children, the study reports.

If Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not identified as early as possible by parents or health care professionals, known issues can arise such as anxiety, depression, or social isolation.

“We know that anxiety and mood disorders are very common among autistic children,” says Dr. Eliza Gordon-Lipkin, lead author of the research. “This study, however, goes a step further by shedding light on the differences between children with autistic disorder and those who combine autism and ADHD,” says the specialist.

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To avoid missing out on these psychological disorders, the authors of the study recommend to specialists to follow these children closely “to ensure a first diagnosis and prescribe a treatment, which is essential to preserve the quality of life of the child” .

Paige Driessen

Paige is an Arizona native who loves the outdoor life. She writes about a wide range of topics for The Talking Democrat