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Children with autism at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders: Study

The researchers also found that these psychiatric conditions were more prevalent in older children

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Press Trust of India Washington
Children with both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at an increased risk of developing anxiety and mood disorders, a study has found.
Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute in the US examined the data of a cross-sectional, network-based survey of children aged between 6 and 17 years with ASD.
Of the 3,319 children in the study, 1,503 had ADHD. The data was analysed for parent-reported diagnosis and/or treatment of ADHD, anxiety disorder, and mood disorders.
The children with ASD and ADHD had more than twice the risk of anxiety disorder, according to the results published in the journal Pediatrics.
The researchers also found that these psychiatric conditions were more prevalent in older children.
"This study provides insights on the differences between children with just ASD versus those with ASD and ADHD," said Eliza Gordon-Lipkin from Kennedy Krieger Institute.
"What exactly happens in the human brain that causes children with ASD to have other mental health conditions is not fully understood, but we hope this study inspires other researchers to pursue the answer to this question," Gordon-Lipkin said.
According to recent statistics, ASD affects one in 68 children and ADHD affects one in 10 in the US.
The researchers have long known that these disorders have overlapping features and can occur together, having negative developmental, cognitive, behavioural and functional implications.
"The takeaway from the study's findings, and one that both parents of children with ASD and doctors need to keep in mind, is that managing these psychiatric disorders is a dual effort," said Paul H Lipkin from Kennedy Krieger Institute.
"By working closely together in monitoring a child for anxiety and mood symptoms, we can ensure early diagnosis and treatment, which is key to preserving a child's quality of life," said Lipkin.

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First Published: Mar 31 2018 | 11:35 PM IST

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