Psychiatric disorders in individuals with high-functioning autism and Asperger's disorder: Similarities and differences

Mukaddes N. M., Herguner S., Tanidir C.

WORLD JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY, vol.11, no.8, pp.964-971, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Objectives. To investigate and compare the rate and type of psychiatric co-morbidity in individuals with diagnosis of high functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger's disorder (AS). Methods. This study includes 30 children and adolescents with diagnosis of HFA and 30 with diagnosis of AS. Diagnoses of HFA and AS were made using strict DSM-IV criteria. Psychiatric co-morbidity was assessed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL-T). Results. The rate of comorbid psychiatric disorders was very high in both groups (93.3% in HFA and 100% in AS). The most common disorder in both groups was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in the rate of associated psychiatric disorders, except for major depressive disorder (P = 0.029) and ADHD-combined type (P = 0.030). The AS group displayed greater comorbidity with depressive disorders and ADHD-CT. Conclusion. From a clinical perspective, it could be concluded that both disorders involve a high risk for developing psychiatric disorders, with AS patients at greater risk for depression. From a nosological perspective, the substantial similarities in terms of psychiatric comorbidity may support the idea that both disorders are on the same spectrum and differs in some aspects.