The Link between Autism and Anxiety Disorders

We all experience bouts of anxiety from time to time, but unfortunately, for individuals with Autism, it can be a way of life. Studies are now showing a strong link between Autism and the rate of anxiety disorders. Since many individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) cannot comprehend the world around them, and are constantly struggling with trying to adapt to what society says is “normal”, it is quite understandable why so many are living with anxiety each day. These individuals go about life with amplified feelings of stress, worry, or fear, making it even more difficult to function in everyday situations.

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam have discovered that 40% of all children with ASD suffer from at least one anxiety disorder. The study also states that children with ASD displayed much more severe symptoms that neurotypical children suffering from the same disorders.

There are several reasons why individuals with Autism are at a higher-risk for having an anxiety disorder. Many have sensory issues to light and sound, causing them to panic during a sensory overload. In an attempt to have a bit of control over their environment, many individuals with ASD choose to stick to places they know, and avoid unfamiliar or typically crowded atmospheres. Interaction with other individuals can be extremely challenging for Autistic children, and as a result, they may suffer from social rejection. This may cause them to withdraw further from the rest of the world, and become highly anxious in all social situations.

Anxiety can be detrimental to an Autistic individual, and make their daily life much more difficult, so it is essential to cultivate a world of acceptance, warmth, and understanding to help them feel safe and at peace.

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