Children with Autism are four times as likely to experience depression at some point in their lives than their neurotypical peers. There are many reasons why this might be the case including a realization that they are different, struggling to cope with academic expectations, and struggling to understand social rules and expectations.

Warning signs that a teen on the spectrum may be depressed

Depression can have severely negative impacts on those with autism, which is why early detection is crucial. Depression can hinder independence, disrupt coping and social skills, and negatively impact communication, all of which those with Autism already struggle.

Depression and ASD share several overlapping symptoms which can make it difficult to properly diagnose the comorbidity of depression. This is further complicated by the fact that children with ASD may not display the emotions typically associated with depression in the same way as neurotypical individuals because autistic teens express emotions differently.

Research has indicated that some symptoms of depression can be more commonly linked to individuals on the spectrum, so be on the lookout for these warning signs if you worry your teen may be experiencing depression:

– More severe or frequent repetitive/compulsive behavior
– Increasing number of tantrums or aggressive behavior
– Increased agitation
– Signs of self-harm such as hair pulling or arm biting
– Struggling to keep up with daily tasks or follow established routines
– Withdrawing from activities typically enjoyed
Disruption of sleep patterns
– Obsession with death or talk of suicide

If these symptoms are present in your child, there are many treatment options available to him. If concerned, the best first step is visiting your physician. She may refer you to a mental health specialist that can determine the best course of action whether it be talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Another common treatment option is joining a support group. It can help autistic individuals to share their experiences with other autistic individuals to reduce anxiety and gain a sense of community. If your teen is struggling with depression and autism, Discover Seven Stars, an all-encompassing residential treatment center, can help your teen get back on the path toward success.

Discover Seven Stars can help

Seven Stars is one of the nation’s premier residential treatment centers for teens with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Whether diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder to date or not, Seven Stars’ students are those who struggle socially, emotionally, and academically.

Our treatment model is a revolutionary hybrid. We combine the assessment aspects of a multidisciplinary assessment center, the experiential learning of an adventure program, and the therapy and classroom academics of residential treatment. Multidisciplinary treatment and support are essential for success in treating the neurodevelopmental, learning, psychiatric, communication, emotional, social, and behavioral complications associated with ASD. For more information, please call (844) 601-1167.