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Depressive Disorders in ASD

Presentation of Depression in ASD children is often atypical and very challenging for the psychiatrist. Depressive symptoms in ASD children reported by parents and caregivers are consistent sadness, tearfulness, apathy, or an increasingly negative affect. Anhedonia (loss of interest in activities once pleasurable) and other signs of depression like such sleep and appetite changes or academic skills/performance issues have been observed in children on the ASD spectrum. (Magnuson 2011).

Psychotherapy and social skills interventions like ABA must be promptly initiated. ASD children need treatments tailored to suit individual requirements and multimodal assessment and treatment. While designing a program for treating ASD, the severity of Psychiatric comorbidities should be taken into consideration to improve the overall functional outcomes of the child. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

  1. Magnuson KM, Constantino JN. Characterization of depression in children with autism spectrum disorders. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011 May;32(4):332-40. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e318213f56c. PMID: 21502871; PMCID: PMC3154372.
  2. Gurney JG, McPheeters ML, Davis MM. Parental Report of Health Conditions and Health Care Use Among Children with and Without Autism: National Survey of Children's Health. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.2006;160(8):825–830. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.8.825.
  3. Anxiety AND Depression Association of America