Medical and Psychiatric Comorbidities in a Cohort of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: the aim of the present study is to investigate the presence of medical and psychiatric comorbidities in a cohort of adults with ASD.
Methods: one hundred and fifty subjects were recruited. All participants were screened by a senior psychiatrist who diagnosed ASD and evaluate the current presence of other psychiatric or neurological symptoms. Medical status was evaluated by a physician specialized in internal medicine. Medical charts were thoroughly reviewed in order to obtain information about previous medical problems.
Results: in the entire sample, we observed numerous medical comorbidities such as epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. We observed a discrepancy according to QI value: ASD patients with intellectual disabilities present more medical comorbidities then patients with higher QI values (p<0.05). The more frequent psychiatric diagnoses were major depression and anxiety disorder.
Conclusions: These preliminary results support the hypothesis of a specific medical risk associated with ASD, with a different pattern according to the presence of intellectual disability. These data will possibly enable physicians to carry on appropriate examinations and to provide prompt care and treatment.