Management of mental ill health in people with autism spectrum disorder

Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):784-90.


Background: Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may require medical assessment and care, especially for mental health conditions. Although substantial knowledge and resources are available regarding the management of mental ill health in children with ASD, substantial gaps remain for adults with ASD. Diagnostic overshadowing, limitations of communication skills and the heterogeneous nature of this patient population can make practice in this area more challenging, and can contribute to poorer outcomes, including overprescribing of psychotropic medications.

Objective: This article aims to describe mental ill health and identify specific considerations for GPs during the assessment and management of adults with ASD.

Discussion: The incorporation of specific knowledge and adaptations in the areas of communication, awareness of physical health comorbidities, management of challenging behaviour, impact of the environment, role of carers and an approach that values neurodiversity has the potential to positively influence mental health outcomes of adults with ASD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*