Tips to Manage Co-Occurring Autism and Anxiety

Alter Behavioral Health Can Help in California

Medical researchers have found that anxiety is a common condition frequently occurring in people with autism. Although co-occurring disorders can involve any disorders, some conditions are often paired. Autism and anxiety involve their own symptoms, so each person may experience a somewhat different combination of symptoms if they have these conditions. Both conditions can be managed, but the best mental health treatment will target each individual’s symptoms and help patients manage their co-occurring disorders. Mental health medical researchers are still trying to determine why autism and anxiety present together so much, but more clinical study is needed. 

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.

At Alter Behavioral Health, our clinicians stay current on research and treating anxiety and autism in adults. Our California treatment center for mental health is known for its experienced mental health providers and positive environment. We feature a state-of-the-art mental health and behavioral health clinic where patients can get the individualized support they need to manage their condition and achieve symptom relief. Our treatment providers also offer family psychoeducation to help family members increase their understanding of their loved one’s condition and ability to help them manage their mental health disorder(s). 

If you or a loved one needs anxiety and autism treatment, you can rely on Alter Behavioral Health for help. We evaluate each patient’s condition and symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan. You or your loved one can get support for improved mental disorder management and greater overall well-being by undergoing high-quality treatment at our California mental health clinic. 

Two in five people who have autism also have anxiety. Mental health providers are not surprised when anxiety accompanies autism spectrum disorder in patients as the pairing is common. Our clinicians are prepared to help patients who have both disorders and experience symptoms of both disorders in their daily lives. That isn’t to say that people with autism don’t also suffer from other mental health disorders like depression. Still, anxiety is a serious problem for autistic adults and children who may experience its symptoms of intense worry and feel agitated or distressed. 

Both anxiety and autism are separate and distinct conditions, but anxiety can appear as a comorbidity of autism. Both conditions must be effectively managed for patients to achieve mental health stability. Our clinicians understand the physical and psychological aspects of co-occurring disorders involving autism and anxiety. We offer therapies that target aspects of both conditions as well as medication. Our different treatments can help patients reduce their symptoms for improved condition management.

Alter Behavioral Health has a reputation for high-quality mental and behavioral health treatment. Our clinicians are licensed and experienced in providing evidence-based therapies that target anxiety and autism in adults. It can be difficult for people with anxiety and autism to manage their symptoms successfully, but treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medications/antidepressants can help. Although autism and anxiety are considered chronic conditions, optimum management of this dual diagnosis can improve patients’ daily functioning and well-being.

Is There an Anxiety and Autism Overlap?

Anxiety frequently overlaps with autism. The pairing of these disorders occurs so frequently that clinicians at mental health treatment centers like Alter Behavioral Health are not surprised by their overlap. Patients with autism often report symptoms of anxiety such as:

  • Feeling fearful
  • Feeling apprehensive about being in social situations
  • Experiencing a racing heart rate
  • Increased sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling sick or distressed
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Feeling unable to control outbursts or anger
  • Feeling obsessive about routines
  • Overthinking

For people with autism, the overlap with anxiety is one of the most common co-occurring disorders. By managing anxiety symptoms, patients may find that they can manage their autism better. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is usually simultaneous or nearly so to ensure that neither condition exacerbates the other. However, anxiety symptoms can impact an individual’s ability to manage their autism symptoms or can heighten autism symptoms. The overlap, ultimately, requires dual treatment to minimize the symptoms of both disorders. 

Treating Autism and Anxiety co-occurring disorders and treatment near me

Autism and Social Anxiety: What It Looks Like?

Autism often occurs with social anxiety. For instance, it’s not uncommon for people with autism to fear crowds or social situations. These individuals may try to avoid crowds or even small gatherings because being in social situations may trigger symptoms of anxiety and exacerbate symptoms of autism. Social anxiety is diagnosed when a person feels nervous or fearful in social situations, and the fear is persistent and is accompanied by certain symptoms. Social anxiety symptoms include:

  • Being afraid of being judged negatively
  • Feeling afraid of interacting with strangers
  • Feeling concerned about being embarrassed
  • Fear of displaying physical symptoms of anxiety, like sweating or trembling in front of others
  • Avoiding social situations or crowds
  • Feeling intense fear about social situations or events

Many people with social anxiety may experience physical symptoms like increased heart rate, blushing, stomach aches, muscle tension, and headaches. It’s not uncommon for people with social anxiety to struggle to make eye contact, feel insecure, avoid dating, avoid eating in front of others, and avoid starting conversations. 

When social anxiety and autism occur together, individuals can experience a combination of symptoms. Some common symptoms of autism include unusual emotional responses, difficulty expressing emotions, ritualistic behaviors, difficulty communicating, recognizing emotional responses in others, excessive interest in certain subjects, and repetitive movements or behaviors. Many symptoms, such as difficulty making eye contact with others, overlap between the two disorders. 

At Alter Behavioral Health, we treat patients who have autism and social anxiety. We offer psychotherapy that’s based on medically sanctioned treatments and can prescribe medications that reduce the symptoms of this dual diagnosis. When symptoms are effectively managed (or minimized), patients can achieve improved quality of life.

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.

What Does Anxiety and Autism in Adults Look Like?

When diagnosed with anxiety and autism, they often demonstrate symptoms of both disorders. However, some people may have social anxiety symptoms, while others have generalized anxiety. Individuals may not demonstrate all associated symptoms of either disorder; however, clinicians can make a diagnosis based on their expert evaluation. Symptoms can also vary. Many people with this dual diagnosis experience worsening symptoms when they feel stressed. 

When adults have both conditions, they can experience overlapping symptoms. Many symptoms of anxiety are also symptoms of autism, such as struggling in social situations, feeling distressed, or extreme nervousness in certain situations. On the other hand, many symptoms are unique to either disorder, which allows clinicians to recognize the concurrent conditions. 

Anxiety and Autism Treatment Options

Today, mental health providers can treat dual diagnosis with many effective treatments. This combination of anxiety and autism is chronic, but symptoms can be reduced with therapy and medication. Clinicians will assess each patient to determine their symptoms so treatments can target them. Medication is often a cornerstone of treatment because many drugs can alleviate symptoms like obsessive thoughts and over-worrying. Antidepressants, for instance, are highly effective for treating anxiety and are not addictive as many anti-anxiety drugs are.

Treatment for autism often includes a combination of therapies and medications. Autistic patients can benefit from behavioral management therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, social skills training, and sensory diets. Anxiety treatments may overlap. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for generalized anxiety. 

Alter Behavioral Health offers evidence-based therapies for behavioral and mental health conditions like autism and anxiety. Evidence-based therapies have the medical community’s support; these therapies have been deemed safe and effective because of rigorous study and clinical trials. However, many patients can also benefit from alternative and holistic treatments that complement evidence-based therapies and target specific elements of either disorder. Exercise can help clients manage their stress, which can result in reduced symptoms of their dual diagnosis.

Call Alter to Get Help with Co-Occurring Autism and Anxiety

Alter Behavioral Health can help people who have autism and anxiety. Our clinicians are empathetic and strive to improve the well-being of our patients. We stay tuned to the latest mental health research to stay on the cutting edge of behavioral and mental health treatment. We offer patients a positive setting where they can immerse themselves in their therapy, getting the help they need to achieve reduced symptoms and improved management of their condition. 

Call Alter Behavioral Health at 866-647-2716 to learn more about our treatment facility, mental health specialists, and high-quality treatments. If you or a family member has autism and anxiety, getting treatment is important. Left untreated, these chronic disorders can worsen. Symptoms are likely to increase in severity and patients may require hospitalization to become stable. To learn more about co-occurring disorders like anxiety and autism, contact Alter Behavioral Health and let our specialists work with you to develop an effective treatment plan. Make an appointment and let us help you manage this condition for the long term.

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.