Saturday, February 24, 2007

Adult Autism




Autism has been in the news a lot recently. Risperidone is now approved for the treatment of pediatric autism. This creates the unusual situation in which a drug is approved for a childhood disease, but not the same disease in adults. Usually it's the other way around.


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It seems that every day there's a new study showing increasing rates of autism. In my opinion, there are 2 reasons for this:


1) Many studies are now looking at "Autistic spectrum disorders," which include less severe variants of Autism such as Asperger's Disorder.


2) Some parents are pushing for the diagnosis of Autism for their child, because children with autism are generally elgible for higher levels of services than children with (isolated) mental retardation. There is a great degree of comorbidity between autism and mental retardation, and some children who would have just received the diagnosis of mental retardation in the past now also receive the diagnosis of autism.


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I don't treat children, but I treat many adults with mental retardation, some who also have autism. I don't understand why autism is on axis I and mental retardation is on axis II of DSM-4, TR.


2 comments:

mcewen said...

Mental retardation is a difficult condition to label accurately. I wonder if you are familiar with the recent U-Tube video of Amanda Baggs? I would hope that you would find this interesting.
BEst wishes

Michael Rack, MD said...

no, I wasn't familiar with the video. I'll look it up. thanks for the tip.