Most children who lose their autism diagnosis develop related psychiatric conditions, according to a new study1. The findings suggest that doctors should continue to monitor children once diagnosed with autism.
An estimated 9 percent of children with autism achieve a so-called ‘optimal outcome.’ But nearly all of these children years later develop related conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, the new study suggests.
“The majority of the group with a past history of autism are vulnerable to developing other psychiatric disorders,” says lead investigator Nahit Motavalli Mukaddes, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Istanbul Institute of Child Psychiatry in Turkey.
Other studies have reported psychiatric issues in children who lose their autism diagnosis, but at much lower rates. The new study examined children living in Turkey, so the high rates may reflect cultural differences, sociopolitical stress or variations in how psychiatric conditions are diagnosed and treated, says Inge-Marie Eigsti, associate professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, who was not involved in the new study.