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20% with substance use disorders may have undiagnosed autistic traits

8 replies

ofwarren · 09/02/2022 08:32

One in five young adults being treated for alcohol or drug use may have undiagnosed traits characteristic of autism-spectrum disorder, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital report.

I found this quite interesting and true for my own situation. I never actually became addicted to anything but growing up I massively used alcohol and drugs as a crutch to navigate the social world. I can certainly see how some teens become addicted.

I've not taken any drugs for about 25 years and gave up alcohol completion last Christmas.

Did/do you as an ND woman use substances such as drugs and alcohol to cope?

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BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation · 09/02/2022 09:01

Never used alcohol or drugs, but was addicted to cigarettes. Smoked for 20 years and it definitely helped my social functioning. I Ioved a ciggie. Gave up when I was 40 and became very depressed. It was almost like a switch had been turned off. Horrible.

I found out I was adhd at age 50 and then read some stuff about adhd people unwittingly self medicating with nicotine and it all made sense. Nicotine raises dopamine levels which adhd people sorely lack.

I have toyed with the idea of taking up vaping, but don't really like the idea of being addicted again. I'm worried in case they ban it as well.

It's tough isn't it? I think all youngsters should be screened for autism and adhd and then proper intervention given as they enter adulthood. They do this for the prison population in Canada as they were finding around 40% of prisoners had adhd.

More needs to be done to help ND people.


ofwarren · 09/02/2022 09:05

Barrow I was literally just about to write a post asking whether others thought that all children/teens should be screened!
I agree that they should too.

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BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation · 09/02/2022 09:11

Definitely. I reckon about 1 in 20 have ND - either autism, adhd or both. It's far more common than people realise due to the number of genes involved. Loads of people are really struggling.


andysgirl22 · 13/02/2022 11:15

I have adhd , bi polar with excessive rapid cycling mania , numerous physical conditions, suspected Asperger's and i have been addicted to substances . I have never exactly told anyone all of this before so i apologise for just blurting it out. But genuinely thankyou for the opportunity to


ofwarren · 13/02/2022 11:18

No need to apologise @Andysgirl22 that's what the board is here for Smile

It's fascinating isn't it.
Lots of people seem to have both adhd and asd together. Do you think you would go for diagnosis?

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andysgirl22 · 13/02/2022 11:19

When i say substances i do mean a lot of different Su stances mostly smoking from.nixotine to other way darker smokes. I am just trying to cope so is my partner. I think if I'm totally honest my partner is definitely autistic although not formally diagnosed but I'm pretty sure that they are. It is so interesting to read this as it sort of makes me feel visible . Sorry if that sounds strange but it sort of makes me feel idk validated ? Like i might actually matter ?


andysgirl22 · 13/02/2022 11:21

@ofwarrenThankyou @ sorry i put my second post before reading your very kind message. Truly it is fascinating and actually i know quite a few people who are addicted to one particular substance whom all have adhd or add or other neurodiversity. I think some of the traits related to lack of impulse control sort of facilitate the use of some substances. I think that combined with the sort of want to feel something different drives it...... Sorry for drivelling on


ofwarren · 13/02/2022 11:59

@andysgirl Yes, this board feels so validating to me and was definitely needed on here.
Stick around, it's a lovely place Flowers

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