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Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Autism in the Long-Term: Life After 18

Eighteen. For most teenagers, it marks the beginning of their journey into adulthood, an important milestone ushering in a new chapter in people’s lives–one of great independence and responsibility. However, for the 1 in 68 children diagnosed with Autism, eighteen brings with it feelings of uncertainty and apprehension as they prepare to enter a world that no longer regards them as dependent minors, but as independent adults. 

Anxiety Disorders and its Overlap with Eating Disorders

While the relationship between anxiety and eating disorders may seem minimal at first, there is certainly more than what meets the eye. In fact, the link between the two is quite profound. For example, it is more than common for individuals with eating disorders to also have anxiety or anxiety-related disorders (i.e. social anxiety disorders, panic disorder, agoraphobia, etc.) (“Eating Disorders”). This relationship is perhaps due to commonalities in how both diseases come to origin and develop (“Eating Disorders”).

Stressful Conditions

Anxiety is a universal struggle, whether it is about final exams, tax season, or failing relationships. However, the stress that most of us encounter and cope with may seem magnitudes more stressful for a person with an anxiety disorder. In the case of a disorder, sudden panic attacks and breathing difficulties can replace the intermittent nail biting and hair pulling that many of us are familiar with. Anxiety is a common response to high stress environments, and it is no different for individuals on the Spectrum. In fact, people with ASDs may be even more prone to suffering from constant worrying, social fears, or specific phobias than their counterparts without spectrum disorders.

Heartbroken: Is Depression a risk factor for heart disease?

While clinical depression is classified as a mental illness, it can nonetheless give rise to a number of somatic (physical) symptoms. From headaches to weight loss, depression’s effects on the body are numerous and well documented. Now, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, we can count coronary heart disease among the physical conditions with a correlation (but not causative effect!) to depression.   

“Living in a Material World:” Materialistic People More Likely to be Depressed?

We’ve all heard Madonna’s famous and catchy eighties single “Material Girl” with a tongue-in-cheek declaration of herself as a material girl. Most of us would agree that in today’s consumerist society, we are indeed “living in a material world.”  While stores are churning out the latest high-priced products, and advertisements plastered across every medium are screaming out for our attention, we are rapidly amassing material possessions. But do they actually make our lives any better? A recent study conducted at Baylor University, and published inPersonality and Individual Differences, points to the very opposite; researchers found that individuals who were more materialistic had lower levels of life satisfaction, and were more likely to be depressed. 

“Narrative Enhancement Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”

There is no doubt that a stigma towards depression and mental illness exists in society, but when the stigma that is prevalent is internalized, there can be serious negative outcomes. Internalized stigma can lead to many complications, and can worsen the symptoms of already existing consequences of mental illness. Scientific evidence that shows that in 1 out of every 3 people suffering from mental illness, the rate of internalized stigma is higher, which compromises the outcomes of recovery (Yanos). 

An Unlikely Epidemic

Every two years, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) releases data about the prevalence of Spectrum Disorders. In their latest report, data demonstrates a significant change in the number of diagnoses from 2008 to 2010: a noteworthy 30% increase in prevalence in the United States.  As of 2010, 1 in 68 children is reported to have been diagnosed with an ASD (Biao 2014). The large spike in numbers, however, is likely not due to drastic changes in air quality or new diets of the next generation. They are also probably not caused by radical changes in gene pools or environmental factors. Though it may be unnerving at first glance, these numbers don’t necessarily indicate a significant increase in the disorder. In fact, the hike in numbers may point towards a positive trend: progress in the levels of ASD awareness (Bloudoff-Indelicato 2014).