Treatment Utilization by Adults with Autism and Co-Occurring Anxiety or Depression.

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TitleTreatment Utilization by Adults with Autism and Co-Occurring Anxiety or Depression.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMaddox, BB, Kang-Yi, CD, Brodkin, ES, Mandell, DS
JournalRes Autism Spectr Disord
Date Published2018 Jul

Background: While a growing body of research suggests that talk therapies can reduce anxiety and depression in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we know little about what community treatment for these disorders looks like for them. The present study investigated whether treatment utilization differs between adults with and without ASD who have anxiety or depression.Method: Using Pennsylvania Medicaid claims data, adults aged 18-65 years diagnosed with ASD and depression or anxiety (n = 268) were matched 1:4 to adults with depression or anxiety disorder without ASD (n = 1,072). Chi-square tests and generalized linear models were used to estimate differences in diagnoses and psychiatric treatment between groups.Results: While the proportion of people prescribed benzodiazepine and antidepressants did not differ between groups, the ASD group had more days per month prescribed for all medications. Adults with ASD also were more likely to be prescribed multiple medications concurrently and to use case management. Adults without ASD were more likely to receive talk therapy for anxiety/depression. Among those receiving talk therapy, adults with ASD averaged more individual visits per month.Conclusions: Findings suggest that therapists may need more session time for adults with ASD, although it is unclear if this time is dedicated to anxiety or depression treatment. The greater use of psychotropic medications among adults with ASD may suggest unresponsiveness to the talk therapy they receive or greater clinical complexity.

Alternate JournalRes Autism Spectr Disord
PubMed ID30319709
PubMed Central IDPMC6181232
Grant ListF32 MH111166 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD086984 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States