Or they have two of Maria D’Is-Pierre’s children Autism Spectrum Disorder, it never occurred to him that he too could be on the spectrum. Diss-Pierre, now a 38-year-old licensed mental health therapist, has long blamed his symptoms on ADHD, which he was diagnosed with in college. That was not before him Psychiatrist He mentioned that this opportunity even crossed his mind.
“My ADHD was getting worse, and when I talked to my psychiatrist about my symptoms, he asked if I had ever been tested for autism,” says Diss-Pierre.
Looking back, everything makes sense. But for Diss-Pierre, who used to hide his symptoms, it was still a shock. He did not know his anxiety, social interaction problems (irritability (nail biting, hair-like behavior) – all could be characteristic of the diagnosis. He also has a high IQ, like many highly functional adults with autism spectrum disorder.
I have never thought of ‘autism’. I just thought these traits were part of my personality, ”says DG-Pierre, now a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in West Palm Beach, Florida.
He was tired, depressionև Fatigue, which is common in adults on the autism spectrum. They often spend so much time trying to hide their symptoms and find out their social cues that they get tired of being around other people who are not on the spectrum. It is called “autistic burn” and is one of the main symptoms that San Diego therapist Joel Schwartz, PsyD, sees in his practice.
Schwartz, who specializes in working with adults, autism Spectrum says that many of its clients have spent their lives trying to “hide” their symptoms. And over time, the pressure to find out who you are can be tiring.
“Patients burn in middle age or even younger, wondering why they have no energy when everyone has it,” says Schwartz. “Over the years, trying to meet other people’s expectations has hindered your presence, in some cases causing depression, anxiety, and even suicide.”
Schwartz says many people come to him because they are tired of social rejection and anxiety. Often a negative event, such as a reprimand at work because you missed a social sign, prompts someone to finally seek help. Others may have strong feelings about emotional issues, such as loud noises, smells, and bright lights.
But the good news is that more and more people are looking for a diagnosis in adulthood. And when the curtain rises, they find their own community, often online.
“The good thing about social media is that it creates places where people can discuss their experiences,” says Schwartz. “And some can resonate with other people with autism.”
Schwartz focuses primarily on addressing emotional needs, which can have a devastating effect on the emotions of a person with autism spectrum disorder. Simple things like noise canceling headphones and sunglasses can make a big difference.
Most of all, Schwartz wants his clients to know their own strengths so that they do not feel overwhelmed by their differences. “We want to maximize people on our own terms so that they are happy, not ashamed.”
Autism in unrepresented groups
Psychologist Lauren Megro, Ph.D., from Scottsdale, AZ, says she has been feeling free since she was diagnosed with autism five years ago. He has dedicated his career to helping others through the same experience.
In her work, Megro focuses on women, who she says are often undiagnosed. Like Diss-Pierre, she has a daughter who is also on the autism spectrum. When her daughter was diagnosed, Megro noticed that she had many of the same symptoms. “I always thought I was weird and dramatic,” he says.
Megru says women have more difficulty diagnosing because they tend to hide their symptoms better than men. Megru says he was able to get his diagnosis because he already had an established relationship with his therapist, so they were able to work together on the process.
Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults
As the word “spectrum” implies, autism spectrum disorder is not suitable for everyone. It may seem very different to different people.
Autism Spectrum Disorder varies widely in its symptoms, skills, and their impact on a person’s life. Some people have severe symptoms, so it is very unlikely that it will be diagnosed before adulthood. But for those who have less noticeable symptoms, who deal with everyday problems themselves, it may not be recognized.
Healthcare professionals use the DSM-V from the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose autism spectrum disorder. (“DSM” stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. “V” stands for 5th Edition.) Diagnosis is based on a person’s symptoms, signs, and tests.
Many people go through DSM with their therapist for a diagnosis.
Megru says women generally have to struggle harder to be diagnosed. He says the problem goes beyond sex և involves racial, ethnicity, բաց a lack of understanding of autism spectrum disorder, like the myth that it mainly affects white men.
“There is this view of diagnoses that did not develop in the past, where it began decades ago,” he said.
DG-Pierre agrees. She says that as a single woman she was lucky enough to get her diagnosis, պատճառով because her children were also able to diagnose it, because her husband is a doctor who was able to navigate the system.
However, DG-Pierre says he really grew out of the experience. It helped him to understand and accept himself.
Now that he knows the truth, he can reach out and help others who are going through the same process. He even started a business called Black Autism to provide consultation to support parents with children on the spectrum. He has a podcast of the same name.
As he puts it, “My diagnosis revealed who I am.”
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