Psychiatric conditions crop up more than twice as often in families that include a child with autism as in the general population. That’s the upshot of the most sweeping study to date of mental health in siblings of children with autism.
The findings suggest that clinicians should look carefully for signs of other problems in relatives of people with autism.
Among siblings of people with autism, Brown’s team found high rates of seven childhood-onset conditions including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disability. They also found that the siblings have higher rates of schizophrenia and mood disorders, among other mental health problems (see graphic below).