There are common questions that we can answer about all health topics, such as "What is it?" and "How many people are affected." Answers to these questions are found under Condition Information. Each health topic frequently has specific questions that pertain only to that topic. We have answered those in this section.
Are there disorders or conditions associated with Asperger syndrome?
Many children with Asperger syndrome are highly active in early childhood but go on to develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. Other conditions that often coexist with Asperger syndrome are1,2:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One of the most common childhood disorders, ADHD can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (overactivity).3 See the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
- Tic disorders (such as Tourette syndrome). Tic disorders are neurological disorders that cause sudden, brief, and repeated movements. Common symptoms include:
- Repeated blinking of the eyes and other eye movements
- Facial grimacing
- Shoulder shrugging
- Head or shoulder jerking
- Repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds
Tics typically first appear in children between the ages of 3 and 9. Most people with the syndrome experience their worst tic symptoms in their early teens; symptoms usually get better in the later teen years and adulthood.1 See the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website for more information.
- Depression. Depression is a common illness that can be serious. Symptoms can include some or all of the following:
- Sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness, or thinking bad things will happen
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability or inability to sit still
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable, including sex
- Tiredness and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, waking up early in the morning, or sleeping a lot
- Eating too much or loss of hunger
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment4
See the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
- Anxiety disorders. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but in general they cause people to feel excessive and irrational fear and dread. The symptoms usually last longer than 6 months.5 See the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with OCD, which is an anxiety disorder, have upsetting thoughts that do not go away (obsessions) and use rituals (compulsions) to control the anxiety these thoughts cause. For example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If they develop an obsession with intruders, people with OCD may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. OCD usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.6 See the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders - 4th ed. Washington, DC: Author. [top]
- National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus. (2010). Asperger syndrome. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001549.htm [top]
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Retrieved May 31, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/complete-index.shtml [top]
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). Depression. Retrieved May 31, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml [top]
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2010). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved May 31, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml [top]
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). Obsessive-compulsive disorder: When unwanted thoughts take over. Retrieved May 31, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-when-unwanted-thoughts-take-over/what-is-ocd.shtml [top]