Last Updated May 21, 2011
There are a number of conditions that are more commonly found among those with autistic spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome (AS) than in the general population.
Common anxiety disorders among those with AS include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (chronic anxiety)
- Panic disorder (panic attacks)
- Agoraphobia (may include fear of going outdoors, unfamiliar places, crowds, or anywhere such as a bridge or elevator where the individual feels trapped)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
According to Attwood (2007), possible causes of anxiety disorders include sensory anomalies (i.e., fear of loud noises) and the strain of having to use one’s intellect rather than natural social intuition to succeed in social situations, which requires maintaining high alertness and triggers fearful anticipation of making errors. Children with AS may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of frequent bullying, and a few even refuse to go to school and/or develop social phobias. Some anxious teens and adults self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, which creates a risk of addiction and can exacerbate anxiety problems in the long run.