Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Synopsis

"The first book to address the increasingly urgent need for information about psychiatric problems in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome systematically explains the emotional and psychological difficulties that are often encountered with ASDs. The author, an experienced psychiatrist specializing in autism, describes each of the conditions that are commonly seen in autistic children and adults, including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and tic disorders, and gives sound guidance on their early detection and treatment. Easy to use and authoritative, this book is an essential tool for use by both family and professionals." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to present an overview of the mental health aspects of autism and Asperger syndrome. It is not generally known that several types of behavioral and emotional problems occur in persons with autism spectrum disorders, of which autism and Asperger syndrome are the main categories. In fact, there is a common misperception among professionals and care-givers alike that people with these disorders do not develop additional psychiatric conditions. The purpose of this book is to dispel this myth. Although written primarily for parents and care-givers, specialists working in the field, such as psychiatrists and pediatricians, will also find it useful.

It is somewhat of an irony that, while autism is classified as a psychiatric disorder, not much is known about its psychiatric aspects. The same is true of Asperger syndrome. Although autism was first described in the 1940s, it is only now that attention is being paid to the psychiatric symptoms that often accompany it. Quite often, the presenting symptoms of autism are not the core deficits of social interaction and communication, but superimposed psychiatric problems such as anger outbursts, depression, and hyperactivity. Unfortunately, these problems are usually either ignored by professionals or dismissed as being part of the disorder of autism (and Asperger syndrome). While several good books have described the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, none has specifically focused on the occurrence of psychiatric disorders in this population. This book aims to describe the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of common psychiatric disorders in persons with autism and Asperger syndrome. Its objective is not to give an extensive account of each psychiatric disorder, but to provide a broad overview of the various disorders and underscore the need for treatment in persons with autism spectrum disorders.

There is no consensus as to what exactly constitutes a psychiatric disorder. However, for the purpose of this book, a psychiatric disorder is defined as any behavioral or emotional disorder which causes a significant degree of distress or impairment to the individual, the family, or to the community. The key requirement is that the behavior should cause a significant degree of impairment or dysfunction. If there is no impairment, there is no disorder, at least in the psychiatric sense. This issue is important because maladaptive . . .

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