Adults affected by Asperger Syndrome, which is a milder form of autism, are much more likely to have suicidal thoughts than others, a new study has revealed.
The survey, which involved 374 British adults affected by the syndrome, revealed that around 66% of the study subjects had suicidal thoughts, and around 35% of them even planned or attempted suicide.
Individuals having a history of depression are known to be prone to suicidal behaviour, however, this new study has linked Asperger syndrome to a higher risk of these thoughts.
The researchers also noted that just around 17% of the general population was prone to having suicidal thoughts, and around 59% of patients affected by psychosis exhibited this kind of behaviour.
“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, explained in a journal news release.
The researchers also found that adults with severe symptoms of autism were more likely to plan or attempt suicide, and those with Asperger syndrome and depression were four times more likely to attempt suicide.
“Adults with Asperger syndrome often suffer with secondary depression due to social isolation, loneliness, social exclusion, lack of community services, under-achievement and unemployment,” study co-leader Simon Baron-Cohen, also of Cambridge, added.
Experts believe that increased support and resources are required for such patients to help them cope up with their condition, starting from childhood through adulthood.
The results from this study are now published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.