Certain people are at a higher risk of developing addictions and behavioral issues than others. This may be because of environmental and/or genetic factors. Autism is a very complex developmental disorder that affects behavioral, mental and emotional processes. There are several different conditions that are a part of the autism spectrum and each can affect the individual in different ways. Individuals with autism often find comfort in repetitive and even obsessive behaviors to keep them feeling grounded. They may also be prone to social isolation and have difficulty interacting with others. Both of these aspects of autism, repetitive behavior and social isolation, may put autistic individuals at a higher risk of developing process addictions.
Are Autism and Addictive Behavior Related?
It is often found that people with behavioral, mental or cognitive disorders like autism are at a higher risk of addictions. Certain components of this disorder make individuals more susceptible to substance abuse and process addictions. Those who live with autism often find it difficult to socialize and interpret social cues. Consequently, they feel challenged by social situations and may isolate themselves.
Autistic individuals may turn to drugs, alcohol or even certain behaviors like shopping, gambling, Internet use and sex to cope with the effects of their disorder. Substance use can affect the cognitive processes and the brain of those with autism differently, making them more susceptible to addictions.
Furthermore, very common trait of those with autism is compulsive, repetitive behavior. Addictions also involve similar repetitive patterns and emotional extremes when these actions are not repeated. These behavioral patterns may provide the individual with the security they need to go through the day and face difficult situations. If the repetitive action is something benign like hand washing, an autistic individual may not experience very many negative consequences of this behavior. If, however, the repetitive behavior is gambling or shopping, the individual may develop a process addiction that can severely impact his life.
Treating Autism and Addiction
Treating individuals with autism and addictive behavior can be a challenge because the co-occurring disorders must be treated at the same time. Specific rehabilitative treatment targeted towards an individual’s specific diagnoses may be required. When trying to find addiction help it is therefore important to find treatment facilities that can successfully treat individuals on the autism spectrum and addiction simultaneously. The treatment can only be successful when both conditions are addressed.
Getting the addiction help you need and going through the entire process of rehabilitation can be very difficult. However, this process can prove to be even more challenging for an individual suffering from autism. We are here to help in every possible way. Our toll-free number is available 24 hours a day to provide you the information you need on autism and addiction. Call us today for addiction help.