Depression in Autism–Common and Complex

June 27, 2021

Mounting Evidence Points to Biological Conditions as Cause or Contributor to Disorder

Thinking Autism is a UK charity which aims to improve the lives of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Earlier this month, the organization conducted a thorough investigation of depression and autism which was featured in their Autism Science and Research News. The investigation revealed that depression is particularly common in autism. In fact, individuals with ASD are 4-times more likely to experience depression at some point in their life than those without the disorder. Additionally, the organization reported that depression is more likely to occur in those with normal intelligence or higher functioning individuals, although it is possible for anyone at any point on the spectrum.  They encourage caregivers to know the warning signs of depression which include:

A particularly engrossing section of this article focused on the relationship between inflammation, autism, and depression. Reporting that over half of individuals with autism present with both immune dysregulation and neuroinflammation, the article suggests that there is a serious need to start addressing the possible biological underpinnings for depression and calls for the end to the assumption that depression is merely a behavioral component of autism. The investigation concludes by urging for the cessation of any hesitancy that could impede research which may demonstrate that certain physical conditions are linked to the development of depression. The article proposes that if these conditions become treatable, there could be a reduction and perhaps even an end to depression, improving the quality of life for countless members of the autism community

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