Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 3063–3071

Psychiatric Comorbidity and Medication Use in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Tara R. Buck
  • Joseph Viskochil
  • Megan Farley
  • Hilary Coon
  • William M. McMahon
  • Jubel Morgan
  • Deborah A. Bilder
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2170-2

Cite this article as:
Buck, T.R., Viskochil, J., Farley, M. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 3063. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2170-2

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate comorbid psychiatric disorders and psychotropic medication use among adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ascertained as children during a 1980’s statewide Utah autism prevalence study (n = 129). Seventy-three individuals (56.6 %) met criteria for a current psychiatric disorder; 89 participants (69.0 %) met lifetime criteria for a psychiatric disorder. Caregivers reported a psychiatric diagnosis in 44 participants (34.1 %). Anxiety disorder had the highest current and lifetime prevalence (39.5 and 52.7 %, respectively). Participants with intellectual disability (n = 94, 72.8 %) were significantly less likely to have community-based diagnoses of anxiety (χ2 = 5.37, p = 0.02) or depression (χ2 = 13.18, p < 0.001) reported by caregivers. Seventy-six participants (58.9 %) were taking ≥1 psychotropic medication. Comorbid psychiatric disorders occur frequently in adults with ASD, though identifying these disorders poses a challenge in community settings. A greater understanding of the presentation of these conditions within this population will increase assessment validity and the potential for efficacious intervention.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Psychiatric comorbidity Psychotropic medication Intellectual disability 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tara R. Buck
    • 1
    • 3
  • Joseph Viskochil
    • 2
  • Megan Farley
    • 1
    • 4
  • Hilary Coon
    • 1
  • William M. McMahon
    • 1
  • Jubel Morgan
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Bilder
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Utah Autism Research ProgramSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.University of Oklahoma School of Community MedicineTulsaUSA
  4. 4.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA