WHAT PUTS YOUTH WITH AUTISM AT RISK FOR BEING HOSPITALIZED?
Children and teens with autism are more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric care1than their classmates. If we understand why, researchers ask, can we take steps to prevent their problems from reaching that point?
A new study outlines five factors that increase the risk of a psychiatric hospital stay in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They include, in decreasing order of risk, having:
a mood disorder (such as depression, bipolar disorder, or disruptive mood dysregulation disorder)
current sleep problems
more severe autism symptoms,
poor "adaptive" (or everyday living) skills
a single-parent household.2
This study is among the first published from researchers in the Autism Inpatient Collection (AIC). The U.S.-based project aims to learn more about youth, ages 4 to 20, who are admitted to one of six in-patient psychiatry units that specialize in developmental disorders. (Youth with autism who are patients on general psychiatric units are not included in this project).
About 1 in 10 youth with autism are admitted to a hospital for mental health care.3 Studies like this one may help lead to better care and prevention of the behavioral crises that land youth in the hospital.