Sharing: Autism can mask anxiety symptoms | Spectrum

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions, as well as one of the most treatable. But when a person has autism, anxiety symptoms can be hard to see. Matthew Siegel calls for anxiety tests and treatments that are tailored to people with autism.

Anxiety appears to be common in individuals with autism. In fact, a study of our inpatient unit published in December found that 63 percent met criteria for an anxiety disorder, such as social phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder. This is in line with results from previous studies.

Despite this notable prevalence, however, we lack standardized tests for anxiety that are suitable for people with autism, brief enough for clinical practice and sensitive to the full spectrum of communication skills and cognitive abilities. We are still unclear whether what we call anxiety is simply a feature of autism that is more pronounced in some individuals or a separate disorder, and how this might vary based on an individual’s specific subtype of autism.

Read more about how Autism can mask anxiety symptoms | Spectrum


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