Research recently published in the journal, Pediatrics, states that youth with both autism spectrum disorder ASD and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD were 2.2 times more likely to have anxiety disorder and had a 2.7 times increased likelihood of developing other mood disorders, compared with those with ASD alone. The findings, based on 2006 to 2013 data involving 3,319 children with ASD ages 6 to 17, also showed higher odds of anxiety and mood disorders among those who were older.
The article goes to state that researchers have long known that these disorders have overlapping features and can occur together, having negative developmental, cognitive, behavioral and functional implications.
While there is no known cure for these conditions there are a few simple things that one can do to help individuals on the spectrum deal better with anxiety that do not require medication or a professional therapist.
Start with teaching the three basic skills related to anxiety management:
Self-Control – The battle between the cognitive (thinking) and the emotional (feeling) brain. Logic and reason are part of the cognitive brain, while fear and worry are part of the emotional brain. Interventions should cover such topics as the psychology of self-control, emotions, assertion, how to develop self-control, develop your habits, and the impact of self-control.
Stress Management – Stress is the trigger for anxiety. Stress management teaches how to manage stress and anxiety. Interventions should include the importance of stress management, destructive thinking, constructive thinking, self-control and how to conquer and harness stress.
Physical Wellness – Taking care of one’s body through proper diet, rest and exercise. Self- control and stress management involve thinking while physical wellness involves action. Physical wellness is a critical key to managing anxiety and is often overlooked. It includes topics such as self-responsibility, elements of exercise, wellness pitfalls, the side effects of physical wellness, diet, and how to increase your chances of success.
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