High Functioning Autism and Addiction

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ASPartOfMe
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02 Mar 2017, 1:58 am

Autism’s hidden habit Conventional wisdom holds that people with autism don’t get hooked on alcohol or other drugs, but new evidence suggests otherwise.

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A new study in Sweden, however, suggests that people with autism who have average or above-average intelligence quotients (IQs) are more than twice as likely to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs as their peers are. The risk is even higher for people who also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study is the first to look at the general risk for addiction among people with autism.

Other research is also finding unexpected biological and psychological commonalities between the two conditions. “These two fields have really developed independently, but I think there could be a lot of cross-fertilization,” says Patrick Rothwell, assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis. In 2016, Rothwell opened a lab focused on studying the biological and behavioral parallels between addiction and autism.

There are similarities in the way people with either condition use repetitive behaviors to cope with emotional problems, as well as in their impulsivity and compulsions. The two conditions affect some of the same brain regions and involve some of the same genes. These connections are spurring a new area of research that could eventually help improve both autism care and addiction treatment and prevention.


Increased Risk for Substance Use-Related Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study

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Despite limited and ambiguous empirical data, substance use-related problems have been assumed to be rare among patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Using Swedish population-based registers we identified 26,986 individuals diagnosed with ASD during 1973–2009, and their 96,557 non-ASD relatives. ASD, without diagnosed comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or intellectual disability, was related to a doubled risk of substance use-related problems. The risk of substance use-related problems was the highest among individuals with ASD and ADHD. Further, risks of substance use-related problems were increased among full siblings of ASD probands, half-siblings and parents. We conclude that ASD is a risk factor for substance use-related problems. The elevated risks among relatives of probands with ASD suggest shared familial (genetic and/or shared environmental) liability.


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Chichikov
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02 Mar 2017, 2:02 pm

So they start with an invented premise then find out that premise isn't true? And that's news....?



League_Girl
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02 Mar 2017, 2:14 pm

Once upon a time I used to hear how it was only normies that do drugs and alcohol and get addicted and ASD people do not because of their adherence to the rules and not following peer pressure and now I am hearing the opposite. I even told my therapist in high school I didn't want to be normal because they do drugs and alcohol and are getting pregnant and I don't want to be that. Talk about me stereotyping of NTs. Yes all these things were happening my school but I am sure not all of them were doing them and not all girls were getting pregnant.


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Corny
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02 Mar 2017, 2:56 pm

About drugs, alcohol, pregnancy,and tobacco. I always used to think high schoolers only in movies did that and had parties. But for the last 2 years I found out that kids in real life do it. And I'm always shocked when learning that kids I know are doing that. It's just weird. Because I always assumed most people were like me. Go home and stay in their rooms and do whatevs like movies or something like that. Not partying, getting drunk, and high. I've never done either of those. I usually just stay home and do whatevs. Like watch movies, play video games, listen to music, and play with my dog.



idonthaveanickname
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02 Mar 2017, 3:09 pm

I have both high functioning autism and addiction to drugs and alcohol. So yes, it is possible. I agree with that research from Sweden, but that other quote, I don't think they know what they're talking about. Also, I have Borderline Personality Disorder and a major trait of that is experimenting with drugs, which I did. I didn't think about the effects of the drugs and it almost cost me my life. So there you go.



Corny
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02 Mar 2017, 3:12 pm

idonthaveanickname wrote:
I have both high functioning autism and addiction to drugs and alcohol. So yes, it is possible. I agree with that research from Sweden, but that other quote, I don't think they know what they're talking about. Also, I have Borderline Personality Disorder and a major trait of that is experimenting with drugs, which I did. I didn't think about the effects of the drugs and it almost cost me my life. So there you go.

Are you still addicted or have you been drug free from counseling?



Wolfram87
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02 Mar 2017, 3:19 pm

I've always figured having obsessive tendencies made you more at risk for addiction, so I've always been careful with the stuff.


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cberg
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02 Mar 2017, 3:19 pm

:roll: Well then why did they bother writing the "Functioning" part if this fails to mention a thing about any drug in particular? It never occurs to these meta-analysis researchers that many people do research of their own.


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02 Mar 2017, 3:28 pm

Maybe it's the anxiety and depression that leads people with ASD to addictive substances, rather than peer pressure that may be the norm.
I know I did my drinking and drugs alone.
It wasn't to fit in, it was to get some relief from the constant feeling of 'being on edge'.
I couldn't wind down without a drink, and I never even knew what it felt like to have relaxed muscles until I took drugs.


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02 Mar 2017, 7:00 pm

Corny wrote:
About drugs, alcohol, pregnancy,and tobacco. I always used to think high schoolers only in movies did that and had parties. But for the last 2 years I found out that kids in real life do it. And I'm always shocked when learning that kids I know are doing that. It's just weird. Because I always assumed most people were like me. Go home and stay in their rooms and do whatevs like movies or something like that. Not partying, getting drunk, and high. I've never done either of those. I usually just stay home and do whatevs. Like watch movies, play video games, listen to music, and play with my dog.


I used to think child abuse only existed in books and movies and mean parents and mean teachers. I also didn't know there were parents out there like the Wormwoods nor did I know there were Matildas out there. Talk about being naive. Then you go out there and hear stories and you realize this is all real. You hear people talking. Where do you think people get their ideas from in movies and TV shows? And kids do actually play pranks on teachers or act wild in class like we have seen in movies because I have seen it in real life and heard stories about it like hearing in high school that kids would sometimes switch names to give their substitute teachers a hard time and to confuse them or hearing a student ordering their teacher a bunch of pizzas because she gave her detention.


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02 Mar 2017, 7:09 pm

I used to have a really bad lone drinking habit, although I've stopped this now, I would still class myself as a social drinker. Man I love alcohol too much.


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18 Oct 2017, 12:12 am

New book explores drinking, drug abuse, and addiction in the autism community

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A new book by Elizabeth Kunreuther, clinical instructor at the University of North Carolina's Addiction Detox Unit at WakeBrook in Raleigh, and Ann Palmer, a faculty member at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC, brings together current research and personal accounts from individuals with autism and their support networks to start a conversation about the relationship between ASD and SUD.

The book, titled "Drinking, Drug Use and Addiction in the Autism Community," explores why addiction is more common among individuals with ASD than it is within the general population and investigates how addiction and autism affect one another. The authors also provide strategies for supporting people with both ASD and SUD. It is being published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and will be available for purchase Oct. 19. It is now available for preorder at amazon.com.

Tony Attwood, the author of "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome," said, "This book is an important review of the issues associated with addiction and ASD. It will provide encouragement for parents to take action, and for professionals working the area of ASD to screen for addiction, and then to modify their treatment for addiction to accommodate the characteristics of ASD."


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xatrix26
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18 Oct 2017, 1:27 am

I have high functioning Autism, OCD and ADHD I've struggled for many years with alcohol addiction. Thankfully I've never had a drug problem but perhaps that was supplanted by the many types of pharmaceutical drugs I need to take.

So I would completely agree with this Swedish study regarding HFA, also known as Asperger's Syndrome, and addiction. My younger brother who also has the same afflictions I do, had a very serious alcohol addiction and he did far more drugs than I did. He also used more pharmaceutical drugs than I did too.

As coincidence would have it, we're both half Swedish.

As soon as a condition like Autism is spoken about and anxiety and depression are linked with it, then addiction becomes an absolute certainty, I've discovered. We all have our coping mechanisms and some are better than others and yet some are more destructive than others. Apparently, we can be a sad state of affairs.


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RandomFox
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18 Oct 2017, 5:43 am

This is very interesting, but in my case - I'm totally the opposite.
I could let's say randomly smoke a packet of cigarettes (a whole packet of 20!) in a night and then not touch cigarettes for years. Or socially smoke 2 cigarettes a week. It's the same with drinking. There was one week when I drank coke and vodka every single evening, but on Sunday I thought "that's just unhealthy" and stopped.
I've never tried heroin, cocaine or amphetamines. Who knows, maybe they'd get me addicted in no time.



llamamamawithahairbow
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19 Oct 2017, 12:27 am

Raleigh wrote:
Maybe it's the anxiety and depression that leads people with ASD to addictive substances, rather than peer pressure that may be the norm.
I know I did my drinking and drugs alone.
It wasn't to fit in, it was to get some relief from the constant feeling of 'being on edge'.
I couldn't wind down without a drink, and I never even knew what it felt like to have relaxed muscles until I took drugs.


i found without family support the most welcoming group is anyone on drugs. they were always looking for more friends. now mind you they werent always the best people but i have some wild stories. i would say anxiety and depression. while i do adhere to rules i wanted to fit in. so it wasnt so much pressure as it was a search for belonging for me. because i didnt have that in my family.



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19 Oct 2017, 1:19 am

Everytime i had a job i gotten into heroin, to much money available made that possible? Luckily i didn't believe in (my) addiction, many i"ve seen have a deep faith in this fatalilty.