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Clinical and therapeutic implications of psychiatric comorbidity in high functioning autism/Asperger syndrome: An Italian study

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.33034    4,044 Downloads   6,514 Views   Citations


The present study describes the occurrence of psychiatric comorbid disorders in a cohort of 86 high functioning autism (HFA)/Asperger syndrome (AS) patients, examined at Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit of Tor Vergata University. 38 patients out of 86 (44.2%) presented one or more psychiatric comorbidities, such as mood disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome (TS), anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychotic symptoms. We compared our sample with the evidences from the scientific literature on psychiatric comorbidity in ASD patient, in particular in HFA/AS. In this paper we focus on the high frequency of comorbid psychiatric disorders in HFA/AS patients, such as mood disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette syndrome (TS), anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychosis, including schizophrenia. We analyzed rates of all psichiatric comorbidities diagnosed in a sample of HFA/AS subjects and we compared findings from our study with the evidences from the scientific literature on psychiatric comorbidity in ASD patients, in particular HFA/AS. We point out that comorbid psychiatric symptoms can be hardly diagnosed, because they could present atipically in ASDs then in general population. Furthermore, they could be masked by ASD core symptoms.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Giovinazzo, S. , Marciano, S. , Giana, G. , Curatolo, P. and Porfirio, M. (2013) Clinical and therapeutic implications of psychiatric comorbidity in high functioning autism/Asperger syndrome: An Italian study. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 329-334. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.33034.


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