Related Conditions and Associated Diagnoses
As is true for so many pervasive conditions, Asperger’s syndrome can occur on its own, or more likely, will present itself along with other diagnoses. The following list includes some of the most frequently occurring conditions that are often present along with Asperger’s syndrome.
Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness characterized by severe anxiety that interferes with a person's life. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear, uneasiness, or concern that something bad is about to happen.
Anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder, which involves several months of ongoing physical symptoms that occur along with anxiety.
- Panic disorders, which involve repeated episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder, which involves frequent, repeated thoughts leading to repeated or persistent behavior (such as excessive hand-washing).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, which involves reliving a traumatic event (such as a war experience or rape) and feelings of numbness and disinterest in daily activities.
These disorders can be treated with medications and/or counseling.
(From: Cooke, K and Fackler, A. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/sta123298/popup/sta123298-sec;_ylt=AhLOt2lfgcPUrXt9KKwFJibogrMF)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person becomes trapped in a pattern of intrusive and unwanted thoughts and repeatedly performs tasks or rituals to get rid of the thoughts. Fear of contamination is one of the most common obsessions, while hand-washing and checking are the most common compulsions.
- Obsessions are thoughts and worries that will not go away. These thoughts are usually irrational and cause anxiety. For instance, the person may constantly worry, “My hands are dirty. I will get a disease.” Obsessions usually lead to irrational behaviors (compulsions).
- Compulsions are recurring behaviors that a person feels a strong urge to do in response to obsessive thoughts or worries. For example, a person who has an obsession with dirty hands and disease may wash his or her hands over and over again.
In a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, attempts to control his or her obsessions and resist the urge to perform certain compulsive behaviors may cause extreme anxiety or panic attacks.
Treatment includes medications and counseling.
(From: Cooke, K and Fackler, A. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/sto167655/popup/sto167655-sec;_ylt=AtX7p5HjLokjXo2on4xU7BXogrMF)
Attention Deficit Disorder (with or w/out hyperactivity)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral condition in which people have difficulty paying attention, may be more active than normal, and tend to act without thinking. This common disorder begins in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. The exact cause is not clear, although the disorder tends to run in families, so a genetic factor is likely. Treatment is specific to each person's symptoms and problems and may include medications, behavior management, and counseling.
(From: Cooke, K and Fackler, A. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/sta123377/popup/sta123377-sec;_ylt=AkolYibobUY8EY4.Q0d1wz3ogrMF)
Depression is an illness that causes a person to feel sad and hopeless for much of the time. It is different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy.
People who are depressed may also:
- Think and speak more slowly than normal.
- Have trouble concentrating, remembering, and making decisions.
- Have changes in their eating and sleeping habits.
- Lose interest in things they once enjoyed.
- Be preoccupied with death and/or suicide.
Depression affects men and women of all ages and has often been shown to run in families. A person can have one or many episodes of depression in a lifetime. Each episode of depression makes a person more likely to have another episode of depression.
Most people who are depressed get better with medication, counseling, or a combination of the two. People with suicidal tendencies may need to be hospitalized.
(From: Cooke, K and Fackler, A. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/std120700/popup/std120700-sec;_ylt=AveD8j5wfQNhS94dmdgpNfLogrMF)
Nonverbal Learning Disability
Nonverbal learning disorder is a learning disorder that has many traits commonly associated with Asperger's syndrome. Like those with Asperger's syndrome, children with nonverbal learning disorder usually start to talk around 2 years of age (the age at which speech normally develops). They often have excellent memorization skills needed for reading and spelling. Also, they share a desire to form relationships but often fail because of poor social skills. However, these conditions are not the same. Children with nonverbal learning disorder have some distinguishing characteristics. A hallmark trait of the disorder is difficulty learning from the visual environment. While they are poor visual learners, children with nonverbal learning disorder often excel at remembering information they hear. These children may have difficulty drawing, seeing detail in images, or putting puzzles together and can easily become disoriented or lost in places they have been before. These traits are typically not shared with Asperger's syndrome. Children with nonverbal learning disorder (more than children with Asperger's syndrome) often have poorly developed fine motor skills, which makes using a pencil, forming numbers, writing, and drawing difficult. Children with nonverbal learning disorder often have difficulty with math, because math is often explained in a visual context and these children lack nonverbal reasoning skills. While many people with Asperger's syndrome have nonverbal learning disorder, not all do. Likewise, many people with nonverbal learning disorder do not have Asperger's syndrome. While these disorders are separate, they both involve similar differences in processing information and those affected may benefit from the same types of treatment.
(From: Reid, N. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/te7868;_ylt=Aln0cnsOZQDanalhOXQKfSLogrMF#te7868-sec)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a psychological condition that causes overwhelming fear of situations that require social interaction or performance in front of others, such as public speaking. The fear often triggers physical symptoms such as blushing, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty concentrating, and may interfere with activities of daily living.
A person may fear almost all social situations or just a few specific situations. Treatment includes professional counseling and sometimes antianxiety medications or antidepressants.
(From: Cooke, K and Fackler, A. http://health.yahoo.com/ency/healthwise/ty6876/popup/ty6876-sec;_ylt=AkPI_oZzI3zTfGzrnf_MeenogrMF)