Experience of Mental Health Diagnosis and Medication in Autistic and Non-Autistic Individuals: An Online Study.

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
S. Au-Yeung1, S. A. Cassidy2, L. Bradley3 and R. Shaw4, (1)Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, (2)School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom, (3)Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom, (4)NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Background: Although previous research showed high levels of psychiatric co-morbidities among individuals with autism spectrum conditions and psychotropic medication are frequently prescribed for these individuals (Buck et al., 2014), little is known about autistic people’s agreement with their mental health diagnoses and their experience of medication prescribed for their mental health conditions.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare the experience of mental health diagnoses and medication between autistic and non-autistic adults.

Methods: Participants with or without a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) completed an online survey collecting both qualitative and quantitative data regarding mental health or other diagnoses they received, and whether they agree with their diagnoses and why. Participants were also asked to report any current medication for their mental health condition, duration they have been taking them and any side effects. In addition, they were asked to rate the helpfulness and satisfaction of their medication and to report their experience of taking medication for their mental health condition.

Results: Preliminary analyses revealed that autistic individuals were more likely to receive diagnosis for mental health or other conditions, were less likely to agree with their diagnoses, were more likely to be on medication for their mental health condition, and were less satisfied with their medication than non-autistic individuals. There were no significant between-group differences in helpfulness rating and likelihood of experiencing side effects of their medication. Further qualitative findings will be reported in this presentation.

Conclusions: The current study revealed higher rate of diagnosis for mental health problems in autistic people, although they were less likely to agree with these diagnoses and were more likely to be prescribed medication which they may not necessarily be satisfied with. Autism awareness training as well as training staff to provide modified therapy in clinical practice could potential improve these experiences for autistic individuals