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    Adults With Asperger Syndrome 9X More Likely To Have Suicidal Thoughts
    By News Staff | June 24th 2014 07:51 PM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Adults diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome are nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than people from the UK general population, according to a paper The Lancet Psychiatry which consisted of a survey of 374 individuals (256 men and 118 women) diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as adults between 2004 and 2013 at the Cambridge Lifetime Asperger Syndrome Service (CLASS) clinic in Cambridge.

    Asperger Syndrome is an autism spectrum condition. In Asperger Syndrome, people show some of the social symptoms of autism but don't have delayed language or intellectual disability. In the UK, one in 100 people (around 700,000) has one form of autism spectrum condition or another. 

    The survey results revealed a significantly higher rate of suicidal ideation among adults with Asperger Syndrome (66%), compared with the rate found in the general population (17%), and patients with psychosis (59%) taken from other data sources. 

    The research, led by Dr Sarah Cassidy and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, and the CLASS clinic in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), found that two-thirds (66%) of adults with Asperger Syndrome had contemplated suicide and a third (35%) had planned or attempted suicide during their lifetime. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours were significantly more common in adults with Asperger Syndrome and a history of depression.

    Among adults with Asperger Syndrome, those with depression were four times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, and twice as likely to plan or attempt suicide, compared to individuals with Asperger Syndrome but without a history of depression. A second risk factor for suicide plans or attempts was a higher level of autistic traits.

    "Our findings confirm anecdotal reports that adults with Asperger Syndrome have a significantly higher risk of suicide in comparison to other clinical groups, and that depression is a key risk factor in this," said Cassidy. 

    According to Baron-Cohen, "Adults with Asperger Syndrome often suffer with secondary depression due to social isolation, loneliness, social exclusion, lack of community services, under-achievement, and unemployment. Their depression and risk of suicide are preventable with the appropriate support. This study should be a wake-up call for the urgent need for high quality services, to prevent the tragic waste of even a single life. "*


    Source: The Lancet