Study claims autism spectrum disorder may raise the risk of substance use disorder

A new study claims that people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are at a higher risk of substance use disorder.

The findings were released in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics.

As part of the study, a group of Taiwanese researchers at the National Defense Medical Center used data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, focusing on nearly 6,600 patients with autism.

From the findings: “In this cohort study of 6,599 individuals with autism spectrum disorder and 26,396 controls without ASD, a diagnosis of autism was associated with an increased risk of substance use disorder, and the risk was much higher in those who had behavioral comorbidities and those who did not receive psychotropic agents.”

“The mortality risk was higher in patients with autism and co-occurring substance use disorder than in non-ASD controls with or without substance use disorder,” researchers also stated in their findings.

“These findings suggest that patients with ASD are vulnerable to the development of SUD. Comorbid ASD and SUD were associated with an increase in mortality risk.”

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