Adults With Asperger Syndrome May Have Higher Suicide Risk

Suicidal ideation/attempts up, especially if depressed

WEDNESDAY, June 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with Asperger syndrome are much more likely to think about and attempt suicide than those in the general population, according to a study published online June 25 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

The researchers surveyed 374 British adults with Asperger syndrome and found that 66 percent reported having suicidal thoughts and 35 percent had planned or attempted suicide. In comparison, rates of suicidal thoughts were 17 percent in the general population of U.K. adults and 59 percent of patients with psychosis.

Suicidal thoughts were much more common among those with a history of depression, the authors noted. Among adults with Asperger syndrome, those with depression were four times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and twice as likely to plan or attempt suicide, compared to those without depression, the investigators found.

"Our findings confirm anecdotal reports that adults with Asperger syndrome have a significantly higher risk of suicide in comparison to other clinical groups, and that depression is a key risk factor in this," study co-leader Dr. Sarah Cassidy, of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, said in a journal news release.

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