Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 2514–2519 | Cite as

Brief Report: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Substance Use Disorder: A Review and Case Study

  • Ashy C. Rengit
  • James W. McKowen
  • Julie O’Brien
  • Yamini J. Howe
  • Christopher J. McDougleEmail author
Brief Report


There is limited literature available on the comorbidity between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and substance use disorder (SUD). This paper reviews existing literature and exemplifies the challenges of treating this population with a case report of an adult male with ASD and DSM-5 alcohol use disorder. This review and case study seeks to illustrate risk factors which predispose individuals with ASD to developing SUD and discuss the obstacles to and modifications of evidence-based treatments for SUD. A review of the therapeutic interventions implemented in the treatment of this young male are described to highlight potential recommendations for the general management of SUD in those with ASD.


Autism Autism spectrum disorder Substance use disorder Alcohol dependence 



The authors thank the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation for their support.

Author Contributions

AR made substantial contributions to the conceptualization and design, acquisition of data, and drafting of the manuscript. JM made substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of the data and revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. JO made substantial contributions to the acquisition of data and revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. YH made substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data and revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. CM made substantial contributions to the conceptualization and design, acquisition of data, drafting of the manuscript, and revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. Each author gave final approval of the version of the manuscript to be published.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashy C. Rengit
    • 1
  • James W. McKowen
    • 2
  • Julie O’Brien
    • 3
  • Yamini J. Howe
    • 3
  • Christopher J. McDougle
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Addiction Recovery Management ServiceMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Lurie Center for AutismMassachusetts General HospitalLexingtonUSA

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