Aspergers is alone syndrome even though we live in a social world. Tiny babies are expected to connect and form relationships with their parents, share toys, and otherwise relate to the people who care for them. Young children are expected to work with their teachers, form friendships, and respect their elders. Adults, in turn, might be asked to connect and share with their colleagues at work. It’s difficult to take it all in, and at times it seems a little frustrating. It’s no surprise that almost every human being on earth has thought about ignoring others’ needs to focus on oneself.
However, people with Aspergers can find it emotionally difficult to listen to others’ views. Even if they choose to connect, even if they prepare themselves to work together, they will not be capable of holding their own in a group setting.
At one time, people who presented this way were often diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. Although the disorders name has fallen out of favour, these people’s problems are genuine and very present. Sometimes, they lead to addiction.
What Is Aspergers Syndrome and Addiction?
A person with Aspergers syndrome can have mild to extreme social impairments. Communication can sometimes be complicated, and a child’s ability to make emotional associations or understand body language or verbal signalling is undeveloped in specific situations.
It’s not uncommon for people with Aspergers to be susceptible to habits and tendencies to repeat behaviour, and their activities and interests tend to be constrained by self-imposed limitations. Due to their interests and difficulties in relating to others, they seem to spend a lot of time alone, leading to their status as “introverted” or “shy”.
Aspergers syndrome is a development condition that appears in childhood and continues into adolescence and adulthood. The disorder has no cure, though treatment may better help them function.
Some individuals with Asperger’s syndrome resort to alcohol and drugs to deal with stress and dissatisfaction during adolescence and adulthood. Their addictive nature will work against them when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Most avoid seeking proper help when faced with interpersonal or health-related problems.
Issues of Aspergers
The American Psychiatric Association removed Aspergers syndrome from its formal guideline in 2013 after a review suggested that the term was applied to different people at different times.
People once diagnosed with the syndrome are now encouraged to think of their symptoms as part of a spectrum rather than being named for their illness. Aspergers issues are on the one side, while more severe symptoms may indicate classical autism. Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, people who have autism have dysfunctional connections in their lives.
In general, such patients have a high functioning brain because they can usually have children and hold down a job. Unfortunately, they often struggle to:
- Pay Attention
- Interpret the expressions on someone’s face
- Talk about a topic they don’t care about
- Communicate with others naturally
Aspergers may be quite knowledgeable or gifted, but they may not convey that talent to others. Individuals with the syndrome might know a lot about doorknobs, for example, and could talk for hours about how they work and have evolved at different points in history. However, they might not notice that the other person wants to discuss another topic or is tired. It’s hard for them to stop talking.
Additionally, some people with autism suffer from aggressive feelings. Whenever they felt blocked or prevented from doing things that are important or interesting to them, they can lose themselves in rages that are hard to recover from.
There is no clear explanation for this particular set of difficulties. However, researchers believe that such individuals might never be cured. They might grow to accept their disabilities and stop feeling sorrow, but they might always exhibit some Aspergers-like behaviours. Unfortunately, the symptoms of some may involve substance abuse and use.
Addiction and Aspergers
One study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggests that Aspergers syndrome isn’t linked to an addiction risk because those with it tend not to seek unusual experiences. Most people with the syndrome seem to prefer measurable, predictable, and programmable things; therefore, they would not be attracted by the bizarre sights and sounds that drug use or a bolt of alcohol could deliver.
People suffering from Aspergers have a problem making social connections, making them prone to being tempted by drugs or alcohol to soften their rough edges. When attending a party, they will probably drink to fit in and feel included in the group. Their condition may also make them drink to medicate feelings like anger or anxiety in social situations.
There’s also the possibility that individuals with Aspergers may become addicted to substances due to how obsessive their thought is. A 2013 study indicates, for example, that autism-affected children are twice as likely to play video games as children who do not have the disorder. Autism disorders tend to make people want to repeat the same things repeatedly, seeking different outcomes each time. Many people turn to the game, while others turn to drugs or alcohol.
Commonly Used Substances
In general, any substance might appeal to an individual with Aspergers, but such an individual will likely buy drugs that won’t be difficult to get. The Poor social skills such individuals make it difficult for them to connect with dealers on the street, making them uncomfortable buying drugs from street dealers.
On the other hand, people with Aspergers may regularly take medications like prescription painkillers by gaining access from their physicians. Also, they may enjoy alcoholic beverages, which they may purchase from a bar or store. Substances such as these can sedate, soothe, and boost euphoria, and they may be appealing to people with the syndrome who have trouble with pain.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Addiction and Aspergers Syndrome
Aspergers syndrome reveals itself in four distinct ways: social/interpersonal, cognitive, physical symptoms, speech, and vocabulary.
Every person with Asperger syndrome is unique, and many may have little to no symptoms at all. In real life, their symptoms can only be attributed to one or two of the four classes, and their general behavioural habits are within usual limits.
These are some signs and symptoms that point to Aspergers syndrome:
- Excellent memorization skills
- A difficulty with comprehending abstract knowledge when learning factual or technical knowledge
- Obsession with insignificant but vital details
- Trouble focusing on subjects beyond a person’s narrow range of interests.
Interpersonal/Social Relationships Symptoms
- Difficulty making friends
- Isolation (and desire for it)
- Discomfort during face contact
- lack of sense of humour
- The lack of diplomacy and brutality
- Self-regulation is weak, with irrational outbursts
- A tendency of self-centeredness
- Uninterested in things others find interesting
- They take their words literally, without sarcasm, irony, or metaphor.
Symptoms of Expression and Speech
- Robotic speech style lacks emotional inflexion
- A word, or a tendency to repeat itself
- Lack of comprehension of language and inability to interact with others.
- Adopting an out-of-turn or loud behaviour
Physical Symptoms and Signs
- Delay in developing fine motor skills
- Lack of coordination or awkwardness in action
- Increased sensitivity to certain odours, stimuli, or food textures
- physical incapability and Insufficiency
Individuals diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome must engage in repetitive activities, cease to engage in social interactions, have a limited range of interests, and show no cognitive growth or language delays. There are several types of autism spectrum disorders, and they are most often diagnosed between four and eleven years old. Still, they might be found in adults once several symptoms are present.
Addiction counsellors or clinicians must carefully review a person’s behaviour to see if the person with Aspergers meets the requirements for a drug use disorder. Cravings for the substances consumed, tolerance for the substance, which leads to a gradual increase in use, symptoms of withdrawal when the person attempts to stop drinking the senses, and damage to the body professionally, personally, financially, socially, etc. are all chemical dependency symptoms.
Other psychiatric conditions are also present in people with addictions and Aspergers, which can be treated with therapies. Those with autism also suffer from mental disorders like anxiety and depression, according to a report published in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities. With these different mental disorders, an individual with Aspergers syndrome will be more likely to relapse in substance dependence and usage.
Treatment for anxiety or depression may not be the only way to help people with Aspergers. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also help. They provide themselves with instructions on accepting their dreams without judging their values. In such a session, patients could be encouraged and motivated to think about how they approach parties. Do they believe they’ll be rejected? Are they aware they’ll say the wrong thing? They might then work out how to challenge those assumptions or avoid parties altogether if they make people uncomfortable.
The goal is not to change individuals with Aspergers, but to facilitate their integration with society, so they won’t be tempted to seek escape through alcohol and drugs instead.
Foundations Recovery Network Offers Treatment
Foundations Recovery Network facilities provide this kind of help. Addictions or Aspergers syndrome are not branded, labelled, or otherwise stigmatized. Still, we try to educate patients on how to accept their limitations and conditions to be tempted to use harmful substances to mask their pain.
Working on this project is challenging, but it is rewarding, and it could lead to a different sort of life for those who have previously battled with Aspergers to collaborate, connect, and heal if you’re interested in finding out how we can help you or someone close to you with Aspergers, contact 615-490-9376.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.