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Autism and Depression – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Depression is a subjective term both in presentation and culturally and environmentally so I am going to run through the potential barriers that can come with depression and con-existing information processing challenges within someone’s autism fruit salad.

Information Processing Challenges

  • Alexithymia – What if a person doesn’t how to verbalise and communicate, they are depressed? with delays in processing and perceiving one’s own emotional states?
  • Language Processing Disorders – What if the person is lives in the system of sensing? What if their pattern, theme and feel use of language is not being translated?
  • Oral/Body Apraxia – What if the person has internally a fluency of language but their body doesn’t coordinate or cooperate?
  • Simultagnosia & Internal Mentalising   – What if the person struggles with gestalt perception and doesn’t internalise with linear coherence?
  • Body Agnosias – What if the person doesn’t perceive their own body as a whole? How would that impact on emotional extraction and frequency?

Working With “Autism” & Its Person-Centred Systems
There are just a few examples and with these examples comes self-reflection how would you be able to aid, empower and understand firstly that a person is depressed and secondly who would you aid? What tools would you give them?

What Else Could Be Going On?
Other things to consider would be other factors within the depression such as mood disorders, depression subtypes (atypical depression, melancholic depression, psychotic depression, catatonic depression, seasonal affective disorder) bipolar disorder and personality disorders – (anti-social, borderline and dependent).

Mood Disturbances & Experiences

  • Anhedonia – unable to experience pleasure
  • Apathy – absence of interest
  • Cyclothymia – cycling of euphoria and dysphoria
  • Dysphoria – feelings of intense unhappiness and unease
  • Dysthymia – this can include sleep disturbances, low self-esteem
  • Emotional Dysregulation – difficultly in the management of emotional states

Paul Isaacs 2021

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