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Why do many autistic people die before the age of 40?

(140 Posts)
Auti Fri 18-Mar-16 06:37:53

Study finds Autistic adults with learning disability life expectancy is 39

Also autistic adults without learning disability are nine times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

Autistic adults without learning disability (Aspergers and High functioning autism) life expectancy is 58

Shocking figures but not a great surprise to many autistic adults I'd say.

TheyreMadITellYouMaaaad Fri 18-Mar-16 07:05:14

Because it can be an extremely stressful life sad

ArmchairTraveller Fri 18-Mar-16 07:11:26

Heart disease and suicide?
Living in the world is hard and getting harder all the time. Stress levels are astronomical in many adults with HFA most of the times that they are interacting.
DD says it's like walking a tightrope whilst juggling fireballs and singing a song backwards. All it takes is a high wind or someone to throw a can and she falls off.
Or people yelling incomprehensible instructions at her that others somehow understand instantly. Then snarling and snapping when she says 'What?'
So I'm not surprised that stress and depression take their toll of vulnerable people who have little adult support or understanding, or reasonable accommodations made.

Auti Fri 18-Mar-16 07:13:23

Exactly! Ask any autistic person why do you think autistic people are more likely to die young generally and 9 times more likely to kill themselves, they would say because of the stress.

I don't think non-autistic people have any idea how stressful everyday life is for autistic people.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 07:18:17

I think there is a huge range of reasons. I have aspergers. Everyday is exhausting and stressful. The smallest interaction can exhaust me.

My stress levels are always fairly high. That's why I exercise so much. I do it alone, headphones on and ignore the world and helps me relax.

I imagine there are higher instances of suicide.

Often people with autism have other health complications.

There is no one reason. There are a lot of reasons.

SqueegyBeckinheim Fri 18-Mar-16 07:19:03

Perhaps diet plays a part too. Many autistic people are limited in what theyre able to eat from a texture/flavour/familiarity point of view, a diet that's restricted to a few foods can't be good long term.

pinkflowerbluesky Fri 18-Mar-16 07:20:01

Unfortunately, this doesn't surprise me at all.

MephistophelesApprentice Fri 18-Mar-16 07:26:41

I spent most of my life wanting to kill myself. Now I lack the courage of youth and just quietly wish I could die. I hate being this broken, inadequate fragment of a person.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:29:08

Well I didn't know my DD''s life expectancy is 39. Very cheery reading sad

I presume there are many reasons..poor health care provision has been stated as an issue for people with LDs recently.

pinkflowerbluesky Fri 18-Mar-16 07:30:21

Mephistopheles gentle hug for you, or the sentiments anyway if you don't like hugs. flowers

My heart breaks for my brother.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:30:57

Ah i just read it. .the 39 is for those with epilepsy and other secondary brain disorders too.

I think you should have clarified that in OP. Got a shock.

Rebecca254 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:31:43

Mephistopheles - I am so sorry you feel that way sad

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:31:56

Sorry for anyone's kids who are in that position. Hopefully by the time they reach 39 things will look better on the health care front flowers

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:32:51

Mephistopheles sad have you tried to access support?

pinkflowerbluesky Fri 18-Mar-16 07:34:02

It's an important thread, Fanjo

I think suicide is probably up there quite high. I also think a lot of 'high functioning' autistic people don't practice self care very well, they also (anecdotal, forgive me) seem to 'self medicate' quite a lot, which in turn leads to other health problems, they find relationships difficult so someone nagging them to see the doctor for example doesn't happen so much.

CoteDAzur Fri 18-Mar-16 07:34:11

curren - Have you tried yoga? I recommend vinyasa, which is pretty strenuous exercise. And it's great to calm your mind.

ArmchairTraveller Fri 18-Mar-16 07:34:39

Depends on the person though Fanjo.
DS bumbles through life as a happy Aspie and barring forgetful accidents, I see him making 100. But he doesn't try and fit into the world, and he doesn't fret and stress in the way that DD does over stuff. His stress levels and heart rate are lower.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 07:36:39

Have you tried yoga? I recommend vinyasa, which is pretty strenuous exercise. And it's great to calm your mind.

I do yoga once a week. But may try that one, thank you. Weights and kick boxing are my main thing though. Luckily my dojo are great and don't understand if o am not very social on occasion.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:36:47

Yes I can imagine that Armchair.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:37:25

Pinkflower I didn't say the thread shouldn't exist.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:41:30

NAS just announced on Facebook that they have released a statement on the story, expanding on it, as lots of people have found it distressing but their link isn't working, frustratingly.

MattBerrysHair Fri 18-Mar-16 07:43:47

This is so very sad.

I have aspergers, diagnosed 18 months ago, and have just come out of the worst depression I've had since I was a teenager due to my exDH and I separating. It was an amicable split and the right thing to do, but the stress of such a huge life change was more than I could cope with. I now see a psychiatrist and have an occupational therapist as I was high risk of self harm and suicide (soon to be discharged as I'm no longer experiencing any urges), yet not one HCP involved in my care has linked the depression and manic episodes to aspergers. It's been completely disregarded.

As a teenager I attempted suicide 8 times and self harmed in response to my physically and emotionally abusive home life. It sounds all very dramatic writing it down but it wasn't. I'm a quiet person who keeps everything in, imploding when it all gets too much and the people around me are bewildered as they didn't have a clue I was struggling. I was given the label borderline personality disorder which didn't fit but the HCP's didn't have the knowledge to correctly diagnose aspergers at the time.

I hope research into autism and life stress is funded in order to make life more manageable for people on the spectrum. If I had been able to go to the gp and say 'I have aspergers and I'm getting divorced, please support me through this', perhaps I would have been more able to function over the last year.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 07:44:04

Reading the article, it's those with other health disorders that have a life expectancy of 39.

My mum is epileptic and NT, but has a lower life expectancy than usual. But not that low

ovenchips Fri 18-Mar-16 07:44:18

I imagine the much lower life expectancy for people with autism+LDs may be the epilepsy component, the very, very poor healthcare component and the massively increased safety risks in a person with LDs (ie a diminished sense of danger) component.

Given me a shock this morning this.

pinkflowerbluesky Fri 18-Mar-16 07:50:36

58 is still very young though, by today's standards.

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