Top of page
Health

Psychiatric disorders explain increased risk for self-harm in autism

Empty wooden bench in the park with brown leaves fallen on the ground and sunset in the background

A study revealed reasons behind elevated suicide risk, attempted suicides, and other self-harm, which require special health care among a and young adults with autism. Comorbid disorders, especially non-affective psychoses and affective and anxiety disorders, explained the risk.

The new study conducted at the University of Turku showed that the autistic children and youth did not have an elevated risk for accidental death. The higher risk for the premature mortality was associated with natural causes. In those cases, the risk was relatively highest among females and among subjects with intellectual disability.

“This observation is in the line with earlier studies. The result is probably connected to the fact that autistic females have a higher risk for intellectual disability and, for example, to epilepsy than males,” says Postdoctoral Researcher Elina Jokiranta-Olkoniemi from the Department of Child Psychiatry of the University of Turku, Finland.

The results were the same when other factors, such as the mother’s socio-economic status or the psychiatric disorders among the family members, were taken into consideration.

The risk of self-harm in autistic adolescents and young adults is approximately double compared to their peers. Based to the results, it is important that public health care is able to identify their psychiatric symptoms as early as possible and offer efficient care.

“The challenge is that the core symptoms of autism, in other words, the difficulties of social intercourse and communication, can make it more difficult to search for help and thus it is difficult to identify the psychiatric disorders and provide efficient care,” Jokiranta-Olkoniemi says.

The study was based on the national FIPS-A birth cohort, in which, with the help of different register information, the mortality and self-harm risks of autistic person born between 1987-2005 was compared to a control group. The study contained 4,695 persons, which had the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, and 18,450 control persons.

You might also like

blind man with guide dog blind man with guide dog

New support guides launched for adults with disabilities

The Department of Health has launched two new guides to…

nurse helping elderly man walk nurse helping elderly man walk

Budget cuts devastate stroke survivors in New South Wales

Stroke Foundation is calling the New South Wales Government to…

doctor with face mask talking to patient doctor with face mask talking to patient

New package to ease pressure on NSW Emergency Departments

​​An Emergency Department relief package announced by the Minns Labor…

kid boy Upset, sitting in the dark kid boy Upset, sitting in the dark

Childhood maltreatment accounts to 40% of mental health conditions

The mental health conditions examined were anxiety, depression, harmful alcohol…