Autism and Anxiety: Problems

Sophia Paone & Elizabeth Joseph

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Anxiety & Autism 101

  • For people diagnosed with autism and anxiety, extreme difficulties can be brought up and are affected by one another.
  • Anxiety is a mental illness that causes worrying about every day tasks
  • Autism is a disease one is born with and causes variations in spectrum.


  • Anxiety is caused by a variety of different things ranging from stress, bullying or the environment around that person.
  • Factors such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping and difficulty concentrating are the most common symptoms of the development of anxiety.
  • Therapy, exercising, and finding hobbies helps to ease anxiety, but some revert to suicide namely adolescents.
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Symptoms of Anxiety
What is Autism?


  • Autism Spectrum disorder(ASD), more commonly known as Autism, is a disorder that creates development problems behaviorally and socially. Autism can affect the way people learn and interact with others
  • People with autism usually repeat words or phrases, have difficulty socializing, have trouble understanding other's feelings and are unaware who is talking to them at times.
  • Unfortunately there is no cure for autism nor is there a medical test to diagnose it.
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Autism and Anxiety Statistics

  • Over 40 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from anxiety.
  • Suicide has been the 11th leading cause of death since 2001. Most cases seem to be caused by extreme stress, bullying or anxiety.
  • 1 out of every 68 children born have autism (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls).

The Correlation Between Autism and Anxiety

  • Autism can have a great influence on anxiety and vice-versa.
  • These disorders hit teens the most as they are very conscious of what others think of them and thus are prone to anxiety.
  • Autistic teen take judgment to another level as they have to face ridicule for not having "normal" social skills and for symptoms they can't help but express.
  • The symptoms of anxiety and autism overlap each other as they give patients an extremely hard time managing both.
  • Many symptoms of both disorders are internal and thus are hard for people to report.
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The Correlation Between Autism and Anxiety

  • Anxiety adds onto the developmental problems that autistic people already face.
  • On page 4 of her book Animals in Translation Gradin states, " Nothing bad happened to make me so anxious all of a sudden; I think it was just one of my autism genes kicking into high gear. Autism has a lot in common with obsessive compulsive disorder, which is listed as an anxiety disorder..."
  • Grandin is talking about how she was hit with a lot of anxiety in her adolescent years.
  • She talks how both autism and anxiety are related and how they share similarities with obsessive compulsive disorder.

A Person with Autsim and Anxiety

Autism and Anxiety Girl

Anxiety in Non-Autistic VS Anxiety in Autistic People

  • Both people with autism and those without autism have to deal with constant worrying with anxiety.
  • Unlike people without autism, autistic people have to adjust to different spectrums such as social difficulty and worrying about what others are thinking about them. This feeling is extremely maximized compared to those who do not have autism. As this feeling continues to grow anxiety starts to build up because the worrying piles up.
  • People without autism also worry about what others think of them, but they are prone to anxiety because of stress, bullying and other external and internal forces.
  • Over all, people with autism or without autism suffer greatly from anxiety. Some may show it some may not therefore it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.


  • The most interesting thing about our research was finding out how all these disorders are more than just labels and that they have many aspects to them. It is interesting to know that there is more to these disorders than the general information or stereotypes about them. "Having a personal connection to the topic because I have friends who have suffered from anxiety. They struggled to make it day by day, but having great support and seeing a doctor as soon as they realized they had symptoms of anxiety they were able to over come anxiety."(Sophia). It was interesting to see that anyone could have anxiety and that anyone can be born with autism at times based on genetics. Over all, researching autism, anxiety and their relation has opened our eyes to how hard life can be for others.
  • Our research enhanced our research in many way. It helped us see autism and anxiety as more than just labels. Sometimes disorders of the mind don't get enough reverence as illnesses of the mind. We learned through our research that anxiety can affect both normal people and people with autism and how both disorders have connects to OCD.
  • We organized our information into 3 main part: anxiety, autism and their correlation. We did this to give a little background information about each and then use the information to answer our research question.


Grandin, Temple. Animals in Translation. N.p.: Simon & Schuster, 2005. Print.

Merrill, Anna. "Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders." Anxiety and Autism Spectrum

Disorders. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2015.

William David Lohr, MD. "61st Annual Meeting October 18 - 25, 2014." Clinical Case

Conference 7: Anxiety in Autism. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2015.

"American Foundation for Suicide Prevention." American Foundation for Suicide

Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

"Facts About ASD." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 22 May 2015.