Association of co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders with autism spectrum disorder


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to receive a diagnosis of depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety than those without ASD, suggests a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study used data from a population-based birth cohort of 31,220 individuals. For each of the 1,014 participants with ASD (median age at last follow-up, 22.8 years), two age- and sex-matched controls without an ASD diagnosis were randomly selected from the birth cohort (n=2,028; median age at last follow-up, 22.4 years)

Patients with ASD were found to be significantly more likely to have clinically diagnosed bipolar disorder (hazard ratio [HR], 9.34; 95% CI, 4.57-19.06), depression (HR, 2.81; 95% CI 2.45-3.22) and anxiety (HR, 3.45; 95% CI, 2.96-4.01) compared with controls.

Among individuals with ASD, estimated cumulative incidences by 30 years of age were 7.3 per cent (95% CI, 4.8-9.7%), 54.1 per cent (95% CI, 49.8-58.0%) and 50.0 per cent (95% CI, 46.0-53.7%), respectively. Among controls, the rates were 0.9 per cent (95% CI, 0.1-1.7%), 28.9 per cent (95% CI, 25.7-32.0%) and 22.2 per cent (95% CI, 19.3-25.0%), respectively.

The authors say the findings support the importance of early, ongoing surveillance and targeted treatments to address the psychiatric needs of individuals with ASD.