Autism and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms and Rehab Treatment

Autism is an illness commonly characterised by repetitive behaviour, difficulty with verbal and/or nonverbal communication, and struggles with social interaction. Some autistic individuals also have intellectual disabilities, as well as attention or motor coordination issues.

However, a recent study in Sweden suggests that those suffering with autism who have average or above average intelligence are 2x more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

If you think you or a loved are autistic and suffering with addiction, then please call us immediately to discuss your situation!

Signs And Symptoms

Typical symptoms of autism include:

  • Seizure disorders
  • Sleep Dysfunction
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Communication difficulties
  • Sensory processing problems

If you or a loved one are exhibiting any of these symptoms of autism, you’ll need to monitor their available access to addictive substances. You can begin suspecting that an autistic loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol if they begin exhibiting the following:

  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Frequently bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Abrupt weight gain or loss
  • Bruises, such as needle marks on arms or other parts of the body
  • Burns on or around the lips or fingers can also be signs of drug abuse

Behavioural symptoms that will become noticeable if an individual is abusing drugs include:

  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Spending more time around people who are known to use or deal in drugs
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities
  • Increased irritability
  • Changes in attitude/personality
  • Lethargy
  • Depression

Short-Term Effects

Having both autism and addiction simultaneously is known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

Possible specific effects of drug addiction include:

  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Wild mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, depression, and violence
  • Complications of mental illness
  • Hallucinations and confusion
  • Desire to engage in risky behaviour
  • Heart rate irregularities / heart attack
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Seizures, stroke, brain damage
  • Respiratory problems
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite, body temperature and sleeping patterns

Withdrawal Symptoms

For autistic people also struggling with addiction, quitting drug consumption will be difficult due to the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms. Said withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, aches, nausea, fever, and so on. Most importantly, they experience a return of the symptoms they were initially trying to suppress by self-medicating. Usually, such symptoms will return at a greater intensity during the withdrawal period.

Recovery Treatment

People with autism who have developed a substance abuse or addiction problem need to be cared for by professionals that understand the complexity of the co-occurring disorders. An inpatient residential programme that can personalise treatment to suit the unique needs of the autistic patient is highly recommended, as this offers the best chance of a comprehensive recovery.

Comprehensive treatment for co-occurring disorders such as addiction and autism should address symptoms of both disorders simultaneously, whilst also keeping the patient comfortable and at ease. Treatment methods applied will include counselling and therapy for the individual and family. Group therapy can prove beneficial as well.

Psychoeducation can also be helpful in treating both disorders, as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Alongside psychoeducation, CBT will help the recovering addict learn the necessary skills and tools to better manage cravings and other symptoms.

Detox and Rehab Benefits

Autism and addiction treatment in our private rehab centre comes with a variety of benefits, which include:

  • Teaching you how to overcome the root causes of your addiction
  • Treatment in a safe and nurturing environment
  • Learning proven relapse prevention techniques
  • 24/7 care and support
  • Personalised rehabilitation treatment programme

Get Help Today

The sooner you get help for autism and addiction, the better. This is because for every minute such a co-occurring disorder is ignored, the problem will only worsen. If you or a loved one have autism as well as an addiction, we can help. Our autism rehab treatment programme is CQC regulated and we’ve helped hundreds of individuals retake control of their lives.

Call our confidential helpline today by dialling 0203 5539263 to get started on the safe and effective path to recovery.

Don't waste another day on addiction
Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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  • Primrose Lodge
    Perry Hill
    Surrey, GU3 3RF
  • Tel. 0203 553 9263
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