Anxiety and Autism: What you Could be Missing

I had a client a while back who, when he was struggling with being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world, would chalk it up to “the ‘tism.” Of course, he was referring to his Autism diagnosis and how there were times when he would struggle to fully understand what was going on around him.

For him, and many others like him, Autism wasn’t the only issue that he had to grapple with. Believe it or not, people who are on the autism spectrum are just as likely (perhaps even more so) to deal with symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that 40% of people with autism also have higher than average levels of anxiety or an anxiety related disorder.


Unfortunately, it is very easy for us to assume, like my former client, that everything that is out of the ordinary can fall under the umbrella of “the ‘tism.” Realistically, that is just not the case. It is very possible that you, or someone in your life, while they may be navigating the world through an autistic lens, might also be showing legitimate signs of anxiety as well.


The following are some things you might look out for either in yourself or your loved ones:


Disengagement

It is common for those with Autism to experience sensory issues as a product of their diagnosis. For someone with a high sensitivity to light, noise, crowds, or another form of stimulus it can be easier to simple remove themselves from the situation. However, they could be responding to symptoms of anxiety which can include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, or even hot flashes.


Outbursts

There is no guarantee that someone on the spectrum is able to articulate what they are feeling at all times. This can be difficult for anyone. If you find yourself getting easily frustrated or even angry, it is possible you are responding to the alarm bells that your body activates when feeling anxious. This may not be a product of autism, but rather the characteristics of anxiety.


Fear or Worry

Many who have autism often consider what the future holds for them. Autism diagnoses are incredibly diverse. For some, plans of having a career, a relationship, or living on their own may or may not be a possibility. It is not uncommon for some to fear what lies ahead in the uncertainty of live with Autism and as a result, experience anxiety related symptoms.


I will say that these are very general possibilities. This blog is in no way intended to generalize people with autism. Every person is unique as is every diagnosis. Still, these may be some of the more common characteristics to be on the lookout for.


At Mind Works Counseling services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in helping adults and adolescents with autism navigate anxiety and other mental health concerns. Our staff is educated and experienced on providing counseling in a way that is compatible with an autism diagnosis.


Learn more about the Autism Counseling services we offer.


Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.


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