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Introduction

It is not uncommon for individuals with ASD to have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Sometimes, these mental health disorders can go undiagnosed because the symptoms and resulting behaviors may be incorrectly attributed to the individual’s ASD diagnosis.

Information about specific mental health disorders may be obtained through credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), but the information below is designed to provide individuals and families with facts about mental health and ASD as well as available resources across Indiana to help intervene and support individuals with co-occurring disorders.

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Can Individuals with ASD Also Have Other Mental Health Disorders?

Yes, research has indicated that individuals with ASD exhibit an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders compared to the general population. Some disorders, such as anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), communication disorders, intellectual disabilities, and others share particular symptoms and challenges with ASD.  This makes identification and interventions a bit more complex, necessitating involvement of professionals trained to work with this population.

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What Resources are Available for Individuals with ASD and Mental Health Issues?

Resources and appropriate treatment options vary based upon the individual’s specific needs, as well as geographic location. Speaking with a:

  • family physician,
  • pediatrician,
  • developmental neurologist,
  • psychiatrist, and/or
  • licensed psychiatrist

will help you determine how to find the best specialist to assist your family member with ASD and a co-occurring mental health disorder.

In addition, the Autism Society of Indiana’s Autism Resource Network of Indiana (ARNI) is a useful tool to find and access resources and provider information related to mental health treatment across the state of Indiana. The Indiana Psychological Association and National Register of Health Service Psychologists both offer tools to find psychologists and mental health professionals in a particular area. Similarly, Indiana’s System of Care (SOC) Network is designed to connect families, organizations, and providers within and across communities to improve service deliveries for individuals and families seeking resources related to mental health. HANDS in Autism® is part of a continuum of services within the Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine and with a focus on ASD and mental health. Finally, The Arc of Indiana Insurance Advocacy Resource Center may assist with determining which treatments or providers are covered under particular insurance plans.

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What Resources Are Available For Families Managing Stress Related To Having A Family Member With ASD?

Having a family member diagnosed with ASD can be a stressful time for caregivers.  Support groups can help assist individuals in managing their personal stress levels associated with the ASD diagnosis.  Numerous support groups exist within the community that are comprised of professionals, primary caregivers, medical professionals, educators, social service workers, and others.  For a list of local support groups in your area, visit some of the resources noted below.

For more information, go to the page on ASD & Families.

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 Available Resources

National and Nationwide Resources:

State Resources:

References

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