Depression Rates Higher in Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder
According to a recent study , it was found that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to suffer from depression in adulthood than the general population. The study was a Swedish population-based study that looked at 223,842 participants who were followed from when they were children into young adulthood. The study compared young adults with ASD to those without the disorder. The study also looked at the siblings of those with ASD to rule out any familial effect.

Close to 20% of the participants with ASD received a depression diagnosis in young adulthood. It was discovered that those with ASD who did not have an intellectual disability were at a greater risk for depression. People without intellectual disability may be more prone to depression because they have a greater awareness of their difficulties and know more about their own limitations.

Possible Reasons for Depression
While it is not clear from the study whether the higher rates of depression are the result of environmental factors or something biological, there are significant reasons why someone with ASD may be more prone to depression. Individuals with ASD have trouble with communication and social interaction and may find themselves disconnected from the people around them. In addition, some of the behaviors associated with ASD may cause individuals to be the source of ridicule or isolation.

Challenging to Diagnose
The rates of depression among these individuals may be even higher than reported due to the difficulty of diagnosing mood disorders in those with ASD. Individuals with ASD tend to have a flat affect, and their facial expressions don't always match their mood. In addition, people with ASD can have difficulty discussing their feeling and the feelings of others. Another challenge is that some of the symptoms of depression overlap with symptoms of ASD. These symptoms can include depressed affect, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal, and reduced communication with others.

Early Diagnosis
The takeaway from this study is that families and physicians of individuals with ASD need to be more aware of the risk of depression. Children with ASD should be monitored for signs of depression so that they can receive early support and treatment.
Elizabeth Kelley
Criminal Defense Attorney
Elizabeth Kelley is a criminal defense lawyer with a nationwide practice specializing in representing people with mental disabilities. She is the co-chair of The Arc's National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability, has served three terms on the board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and serves on the Editorial Board of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section Magazine.  Learn more .
Autism & Depression
Daniel M. Jones is a YouTuber, author and musician with Autism. He creates weekly videos on Autism and Aspergers to help families and the public understand the conditions better. 

Autism and Depression can effect lots of people with Autism and Aspergers. Daniel shares his first hand account.
Coming in 2019: New Book In the Works
Elizabeth just signed a contract with the American Bar Association for a new book titled “Representing People on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Guide for Criminal Defense Lawyers”
ABA Webinar
On February 12, the American Bar Association is producing a webinar titled “Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Practical Webinar for Criminal Defense Lawyers.” Elizabeth will be moderating, and joined by several panelists who wrote chapters in her book: Dr. Elliot Atkins (Mitigation); Stephen G. Cobb, Esq. (Neuroimaging); Jennifer K. Johnson, Esq. (Mental Health Courts); and Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh (Juveniles). And anyone who registers gets a 20% discount off the price of the book. 
Author Chats Radio
Hosted by criminal defense lawyer Elizabeth Kelley, AuthorChats features in-depth interviews with writers about their recent works. In this episode, she interviews Lara Bazelon about her compelling new book Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice after Wrongful Conviction.
FREE E-Book! Families' Guide to Working with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When your family member with a mental disability has been arrested or charged with a crime, it can be a confusing and challenging experience that leaves you unsure of where to turn for answers. Here are some key things families can do to help the defense attorney handling their case.
Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Best Practices Manual

Edited by Elizabeth Kelley, this book is available for purchase from The American Bar Association. It contains chapters devoted to a variety of issues confronted by people with mental disabilities in the criminal justice system such as Competency, Sanity, Malingering, Neuroscience, Jail and Prison Conditions, Working with Experts,and Risk Assessment. Chapters are written by academics, mental health experts, and criminal defense lawyers. In the Introduction, Elizabeth writes that "This is the resource I wish I had had many years ago."