How being autistic might predispose us to behavioral hazards.
I have spent quite a while trying to learn more about autism’s association with some of society’s most difficult struggles.
Exact numbers are difficult to gather, and the numbers give here have been extrapolated by averaging results of studies I examined.
There is much to be learned and decided, but there have been studies on autism and social struggles such as homelessness, substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide, crime rates, jail and prison time.
Here are some of the statistics I found, averaged by combining results, some were significantly higher or lower than the averages I quote here from each group of studies I looked at. I used studies done since 2015, and there was actually very little research done before this on the subject of autistic involvement in each of these social issues.
Autistic people are 7x more likely to struggle with substance abuse.
up to 12 percent of homeless people show features of autism in one recent study. T
here is still lack of much research being done in this area.
One survey of adults admitted for rehab in clinics across the country said up to 30 percent of the people admitted were autistic.
Up to 23 percent of admissions ( in a similar nationwide clinic survey ) for treatment of eating disorders were autistic.
Autistic people are 9x more likely to die by suicide, and studies report up to 60 percent have had suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Up to 40 percent of autistic people report strong symptoms of depression.
27 to 42 percent report struggles with anxiety
Most studies I looked at regarding crime and incarceration were based on general intellectual disabilities rather than on autism, so I will not comment on that, but I know there are new studies being done regarding those statistics and autism.
One thing I have observed is that today people being admitted for treatment for most of these struggles are often being screened for autism. This is not universal yet, but it is a trend which is being reported as recently as 2018 and continuing through today. I find that encouraging.
None of these numbers are scientific from the point of my collecting information and extracting information and averaging it.
I am not a scientist. I am a concerned old lady bystander hoping to bring information to light so that it can be used for better understanding of adult autism, better self understanding, and perhaps better lives through self knowledge and application of coping and survival skills or seeking help if one struggles with one or more of these issues.
You are not alone! there is help available. Please reach out and ask for help if you are struggling.
Crisis lines and local hospitals usually have lists of supports available in your area. Your doctor or social worker can also help you find what you need. Tell others in online autistic communities and ask how others have dealt with these issues. Reach out to family or a friend.
Just know you are not alone, and it is OK to admit you have struggles.
A better life is out there but you have to take that first step. I hope and pray that you do.
One thought on “Autism hazards”
I agree! There does seem to be a stark overlap between anxiety and depression and autism. It was interesting that when I went to a depression meetup group, so many of the people there mentioned their relationship with autism— either having been diagnosed, or waiting to be assessed.
And one of your stats makes me laugh wryly:
“up to 12 percent of homeless people show features of autism in one recent study.”
Since it was precisely whilst homeless that I first had features of autism noticed by a doctor 😆.
“Autistic people are 9x more likely to die by suicide, and studies report up to 60 percent have had suicidal thoughts or attempts.”
Definitely had long periods of having these thoughts!
“27 to 42 percent report struggles with anxiety”
Oh yes, so much related to environmental stimulus. And a general agitation which can make me itchy and irritable.
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