Are People with Autism Affected by Addiction?
By Daniel Factor of The Recovery Village
Autistic people deal with a lot of stress in a given day. Their minds work differently, so their reactions will be unique to their condition and personality. Paying attention to so many details, autistic individuals may not realize that they’re falling into addictive behaviors. So, are people on the autism affected by addiction?
Loved ones might miss out on the clues too. Autistic individuals are affected by addiction in distinct ways. Researchers are carefully narrowing down the hows and whys.
Today we will discuss how people with autism affected by addiction, as well as resources to help.
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Are People with Autism Affected by Addiction ?
The Myth of Autism
The autistic mind has been a research subject for many years. Improving the person’s quality of life is a main goal. Current research is unearthing key details that help autistic people with everyday life. Those on the autism spectrum aren’t immune to addiction.
Myths surrounding this claim involve the lack of peer pressure because of social isolation and a penchant for carefully followed rules. Both of these reasons are absolutely wrong. Addiction is actually compounded by the spectrum.
Repetition is a big part of an autistic individual’s day includes . It’s a way to deal with feelings that may seem out of control. Researchers have found that this love of repetition extends to addictive behaviors.
A person might smoke one cigarette, but then he or she needs several more. The same concept might apply to drinking or using harder drugs. Because repetition is so ingrained in the mind, addiction takes hold very quickly. Due to this, autistic individuals are more likely to be affected by addiction.
The Smarter You Are
Previous autism research involving addiction usually focused on severe conditions. Low IQs were a common thread among these subjects and addiction wasn’t as relevant. This may stem from the reality that those with a low-IQ people usually have a 24 hour a day caregiver.
Autistic individuals with IQs over 100 have a higher chance of partaking in addictive behaviors because they have distinct minds of their own. Current studies should focus on these individuals instead to find answers.
Many autistic people have anxiety issues. They worry nearly every minute of the day. As a result, they want relief from the constant stress. Both autistic adults and teens might try drugs or alcohol to cope with the anxiety. They find that it works to their advantage.
Addiction starts to set in. Over time, they become both mentally and physically dependent on the substance. They continually justify the use because of the anxiety that creeps in without the substance otherwise.
Impulsivity Along the Spectrum
Being impulsive is part of the autistic condition. Compulsion often accompanies impulsive behaviors. As a result, addictive behaviors can certainly fall into place.
A person sees prescription drugs as a great reprieve from reality. On impulse, he or she takes the drug. The compulsion to feel good after the drug wears off will encourage more use.
Self-control can often elude people on the spectrum, especially if they have a severe diagnosis. Caregivers should be on the lookout for addictive behaviors at any age.
Being Part of the Group
Autistic individuals certainly no different than everyday folks who just want to be social. Being part of a group means that you belong. You’re accepted by people who you admire.
Drinking or smoking socially will often accompany this acceptance. Autistic people may take a drink or smoke just to fit in with the crowd. Addiction grows from that point forward.
Recent research suggests a link between autism and addictive behaviors. A gene called NLGN3 has been explored for autistic links in the mind. It’s near the part of the brain that deals with rewards.
Desiring drugs comes from the rewards center called the ventral striatum. With more research, it’s possible that scientists will find a direct link between an autistic gene and addiction. A solution might come out of this connection.
People with Autism can be Affected by Addiction
Dealing with addiction and the autistic spectrum requires specialized help. There are doctors who can assist in these situations, but you must seek them out. They don’t operate out of every addiction center. Handling the autistic and addictive sides to a personality is a challenge, but it can be a success with a little effort.
Caregivers and people on the autism 24 hour spectrum can prevail with healthy living as a priority. To learn more about drug and alcohol addiction, please visit https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/drug-addiction/