Nearly half of adults with autism will experience clinical depression in their lifetime, according to our new research published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
Depression can have devastating consequences for individuals with autism, including a loss of previously learned skills, greater difficulty carrying out everyday tasks, and at worst, suicide. People with autism should be regularly screened for depression so that they can access appropriate treatment.
Autism is a disorder that involves difficulties with social interactions and restricted repetitive patterns of behaviours. Autism also raises risk for severe mental illness.
Until now, researchers and clinicians did not know how many individuals with autism were affected by depression.
Our study, which involved a systematic review of nearly 8,000 research articles, now reveals clear evidence that depression is highly prevalent in both children and adults with autism. It also reveals that depression is more common in individuals with autism who have higher intelligence.