Healthcare costs for adults with autism more than double those for general population

April 24, 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc

Researchers compared total annual healthcare costs for adults on the autism spectrum to costs for adults with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and adults in the general population and found them to be 20% and 70% higher, respectively. Adults on the spectrum also had increased use of specific services, such as primary care, mental health, and laboratory services, but lower use of gynecology visits and screening for cervical cancer. The study, "Healthcare Service Utilization and Cost Among Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in a U.S. Integrated Healthcare System," was coauthored by Ousseny Zerbo, PhD, and colleagues from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland and Santa Rosa, and is published in the preview issue of Autism in Adulthood.

"Most of what we know about autism comes from research on children. Zerbo and colleagues' study—the largest to date looking at the healthcare utilization of adults on the autism spectrum—highlights the importance of considering autism throughout the lifespan," says Christina Nicolaidis, MD, MPH, Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon and Editor-in-Chief of Autism in Adulthood.

Additional articles in the preview issue include two perspectives that envision a way to ad-dress the health disparities experienced by adults on the autism spectrum. "Community Mental Health Services for Autistic Adults: Good News and Bad News" focuses on the cur-rent state of community in the U.S. for autistic adults who have co-occurring psychiatric conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Coauthors Brenna Mad-dox, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Va-lerie Gaus, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist in Huntington, NY, highlight recent posi-tive developments, summarize continuing barriers to providing affordable care for this patient population, and provide recommendations for patients and their fami-lies, clinicians, and health system administrators.

In "Workshop Report: Establishing Priority Research Areas to Improve the Physical Health and Well-Being of Autistic Adults and Older People," coauthors Georgina Warner, PhD and James Cusack, PhD, Autistica, London, U.K. and Jeremy Parr, MD, Newcastle Uni-versity, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. present the results of a collaborative workshop de-signed to identify priority research areas for improving the physical health and well-being of adults with autism.

"Both of these perspectives articles help us envision a path forward to addressing the health needs of adults on the autism spectrum," says Dr. Nicolaidis. "These discussions capitalize on the experience and wisdom of researchers, clinicians, autistic , and families. Autism in Adulthood will serve as a home for such dialogue - and for the research and scholarship that is necessary to allow all to lead healthy, fulfilling lives."

Explore further: Better tools needed to diagnose depression in people with autism

More information: Ousseny Zerbo et al, Healthcare Service Utilization and Cost Among Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in a U.S. Integrated Healthcare System, Autism in Adulthood: Knowledge, Practice, and Policy (2018). DOI: 10.1089/aut.2018.0004

Brenna B. Maddox et al. Community Mental Health Services for Autistic Adults: Good News and Bad News, Autism in Adulthood: Knowledge, Practice, and Policy (2018). DOI: 10.1089/aut.2018.0006

Georgina Warner et al. Workshop Report: Establishing Priority Research Areas to Improve the Physical Health and Well-Being of Autistic Adults and Older People, Autism in Adulthood: Knowledge, Practice, and Policy (2018). DOI: 10.1089/aut.2018.0003

Related Stories

Better tools needed to diagnose depression in people with autism

February 16, 2018
Autistic adults are not being effectively diagnosed with depression due to a lack of asessment tools, a new study has found.

Mental health services are failing young autistic people

June 26, 2017
More and more is being done to raise awareness of mental health problems at a public and policy level, and understandably so. One in six adults in the UK has a common mental health condition, and one in 20 adults has thought ...

Autistic adults report significant shortcomings in their health care

December 6, 2012
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have found that adults with autism, who represent about 1 percent of the adult population in the United States, report significantly worse health care experiences than ...

Moderate Facebook use promotes happiness in adults with Autism spectrum disorder

March 12, 2018
Among adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a new study has shown that those who use Facebook, in moderation, are happier than those who do not. This finding could not be generalized to overall use of social media, ...

Researchers examine social functioning in middle-aged adults with autism spectrum disorders

December 20, 2017
A new Autism Research report describes the social functioning of 169 adults with autism spectrum disorders in mid-life who were first identified with autism in childhood in the 1980s. Participants spanned all levels of cognitive ...

How it feels to be diagnosed with autism later in life

March 7, 2018
"He is wired differently to you and me, this child of mine. He doesn't like loud noises, or dark spaces, or strangers touching his head". These are the first lines from a poem a mother penned about her son 11-year-old son ...

Recommended for you

Tackling bullying could help reduce depression in autistic teens

June 19, 2018
Teenagers with difficulties in social communication, including autism have higher rates of depressive symptoms, especially if they are being bullied.

Link found between neurotransmitter imbalance, brain connectivity in those with autism

June 6, 2018
One in 59 children in the United States lives with a form of autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The signs of autism begin in early childhood and can affect individuals differently. ...

Mobile app for autism screening yields useful data

June 1, 2018
A Duke study of an iPhone app to screen young children for signs of autism has found that the app is easy to use, welcomed by caregivers and good at producing reliable scientific data.

Baby teeth give clues to autism's origins, detection

May 30, 2018
A close examination of baby teeth is giving new insight into the roots of autism—and ways to spot it early.

Screening may miss signs of autism, especially in girls: study

May 21, 2018
(HealthDay)—An important checklist used to screen for autism can miss subtle clues in some children, delaying their eventual diagnosis.

Autism is not linked to eating fish in pregnacy

May 21, 2018
A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.