My grandmother’s sister committed suicide when she was in her 30’s. To my knowledge, she was never formally diagnosed with a mental illness but a forensic analysis by family, through conversations with medical professionals, has led us to believe she did have some type of mental illness. My sister was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder 8 years ago. Finally, I recently discovered that my father was a paranoid schizophrenic. While, this revelation gave a greater understanding to some of the more disturbing and chaotic aspects of my childhood, the family history along with schizophrenia’s genetic component has given rise to added concern as a parent.
I have not been diagnosed with mental illness. I am thankful to have escaped that genetic trait. However, in all my children, I am watchful for signs of mental illness. So,how do I watch for signs of mental illness in my already a-typical Aspie? Does mental illness present in an Aspie the way it would in a neuro-typical child? Can mental illness be co-morbid with Asperger’s?
A brief google search showed me the following:
AS often present with eccentricities, emotional lability, impairments in social functioning, anxiety and obsessive traits, demoralization, suicidal ideation, tempers, coldness, defiance, motor and phonic tics, repetitive behaviors, and stereotypies, that can mimic mental illnesses. The differential diagnosis with true comorbidity of schizophrenia, Bi-polar Disorder or anxiety disorders is not always easy. Children with PDD have a two-to-six-times greater risk of experiencing comorbid psychiatric conditions than their typical peers. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2590592/)
I do not question my son’s diagnosis. I am interested to understand more about the prevalence of disorders that are comorbid with PDD/Asperger’s/Autism. I have already begun my research and will report what I find.