Psychosis in autism: comparison of the features of both conditions in a dually affected cohort

Br J Psychiatry. 2017 Apr;210(4):269-275. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.116.187682. Epub 2016 Dec 15.


BackgroundThere is limited information on the presentation and characteristics of psychotic illness experienced by people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).AimsTo describe autistic and psychotic phenomenology in a group of individuals with comorbid ASD and psychosis (ASD-P) and compare this group with populations affected by either, alone.MethodWe studied 116 individuals with ASD-P. We compared features of their ASD with people with ASD and no comorbid psychosis (ASD-NP), and clinical characteristics of psychosis in ASD-P with people with psychosis only.ResultsIndividuals with ASD-P had more diagnoses of atypical psychosis and fewer of schizophrenia compared with individuals with psychosis only. People with ASD-P had fewer stereotyped interests/behaviours compared with those with ASD-NP.ConclusionsOur data show there may be a specific subtype of ASD linked to comorbid psychosis. The results support findings that psychosis in people with ASD is often atypical, particularly regarding affective disturbance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult