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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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rudi

Confused whether I have aspergers or not

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rudi   

I am 36 years old, I have had problems socially for as long I can remember and depression and motivation problems. My parents took me to the GP who prescribed antidepressants when I was about 16 and I was sent to a psychiatrist who said I had social phobia.

 

I was terrified about going to university and used alcohol to help social situations. I started using cannabis to relax and help me get to sleep. I had some friends and met my girlfriend there. I dropped out of my course as I was not interested in some of the modules and probably due to the alcohol and cannabis. I stopped the cannabis after about 5 years.

 

I have had a few jobs but rapidly became bored with them and was sacked from my previous job for poor performance. I have stuck in jobs for a few years as I am worried whether the new job would be worse and find it very difficult getting to know new people. It took me a long time to adjust and it has been said to me that I hardly said anything for the first 6 months in a job. When I get to know people I try to be funny, but think I say inappropriate things sometimes and swear too much.

A few years ago I was out of work and feeling very low and isolated after moving to a new area so saw a psychiatrist who said I had dysthymia (long term mild depression). I don't have any friends outside of work but get on OK with a couple of people at work. Some people at work say I am intelligent, but others think I am lazy and seem to be irritated by me.

 

I am still on antidepressant tablets but am trying to reduce them. Recently I have become angry and feel bullied by my boss at work so I went to see a counsellor. I said I wanted to get to the bottom of why I have been on antidepressant tablets for so many years, and feel they have contributed to my weight gain and developing diabetes. I mentioned that I read about aspergers in an article and did the AQ test online and scored quite high (45/50). I was referred to a psychologist who said they couldn't give me an official diagnosis but would be better than an online test. They asked me about my background and history and then at the next appointment did the AQ test and the eyes emotion test.

I scored in the normal range for the eyes test, but high for the AQ test. They said the results of the two tests were contradictory, but I have some aspects of aspergers that are causing problems. I am confused as it does not give me a clear answer and I don't know how reliable the AQ test is and was hoping for more in depth testing. I did some more reading online and found that there is some overlap with aspergers and ADHD and the difficulty concentrating and switching between things are things that I have problems with. I have lots of unfinished electronics projects at home and it is becoming full of bits and pieces. Trying to sort things out is becoming overwhelming. I spend hours on the internet each night, browsing the web and buying things on ebay.

 

They offered to meet my boss to discuss. I really did not want this as I don't want them to know, as I feel they won't understand and I don't want special treatment or to be made fun of by work colleagues. Also I want to be certain before telling people. I wanted to understand for myself why I have problems and try to improve ways of dealing with things. I avoid doing things that make me uncomfortable, such as confrontational situations. I find myself getting more angry and frustrated as the blunting effect of the antidepressants is reducing, but have more energy to do things and feel closer to an explanation to some of the problems I have.

 

I would appreciate some advice on whether the AQ test is adequate for diagnosis or whether it can give a false positive with other conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, social phobia or personality disorder. Where should I go for a full diagnosis? Should I tell my boss?

 

Thanks for reading.

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bed32   

The AQ test is certainly not a diagnostic tool - those who get a low score can be pretty certain the don't have an AS condition - I think in controls 25% of NT people scored above the cut off. Given that current estimates are that about 1% of the population has autism you will see that the vast majority of people who score over the limit are not autistic

 

Part of the confusion is that the label of Aspergers (or ASD) itself is a little arbitrary. It relates to the so called "triad of impairments" and you have to score above a certain threshold on all three to achieve the label AS. But the corollary is that just getting a diagnosis of AS is not necessarily much help in terms of how to understand the individual.

 

Whether or not you have AS, looking at how the AS mind works can provide useful insights into how you think - you are likely to identify thought patterns in your own life that are like autistic people and that can help you to understand yourself.

 

A diagnosis of AS can only be given by a Clinical Psychiatrist - on the NHS the referral would be through your GP but I hear it is difficult for adults to get an assessment - it must also be possible to see a psychiatrist privately. I think one of the reasons that is it hard to get a diagnosis as an adult is that the diagnosis is not really much help in pointing to interventions. Managing autism is really about managing the particular problems an individual faces in day-to-day life and the approaches are likely to be the same for anyone with those problems, whether or not the have AS. I certainly wouldn't tell your employer anything without a diagnosis. BUT if there are things your boss can do to make your life easier then you can always discuss those with them without being specific - you do have a diagnosis of something and you don't need to be specific. A good boss should always make allowances for individuals.

 

FWIW reading your post you seem more similar to me (NT) than my son (AS). Looking at my son I see a lot of myself in him, just magnified or distorted. We share a lot of traits but in him they are more extreme, and he lacks certain balancing thought patterns.

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re adult diagnosis. Some Clinical Psychologists will carry out diagnosis. Some Psychiatrists will (they are 2 different and separate professions BTW). Ideally, a multi disciplinary team will do this and is what is recommended by the NICE guidelines. A lot depends on where you live. Services are more available in some areas than others. The route to NHS referral is always via GP. There is info re ASD for GPs on RCGP websites. Psychiatrists can access good diagnostic info on the RCPsych website. Adult diagnosis is doable and people shouldnt have to pay for it.

AQ is not enough on its own. A full developmental history and collateral information about a person is necessary. Good luck.

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rudi   

Thanks for the replies. I feel that I struggle with life but am maybe trying to find an answer by being diagnosed with aspergers. I do relate with many of the problems but can also see that not everyone who, for want of a better phrase "is a computer geek" has aspergers. I was hoping for a yes/no from the psychologist I saw but the test was little more than the AQ test which seems inadequate. I will go back to the GP and see what they say, but I am aware that they seem to have poor knowledge/experience in these areas. I don't want to waste their time but I really want to get off the antidepressants and be able to cope with anxiety and social situations better.

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rich79   

Hi Rudi,

 

I first went to the NHS years ago to find out what was wrong with me and over the years they miss diagnosed me as having emotionally unstable and bi polar disorder among other things. They did eventually suggest Aspergers but told there was no one in my area qualified to deal with it so I had an in depth Aspergers assessment with a psychologist who is a specialist. Since my diagnosis things have got much better for me. It hasn't actually changed my situation in life but now I know exactly what I'm dealing with and have been able to educate myself and get advice on how to make things better.

You shouldn't have to pay for it but I wish I had a long time ago.

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I too have had depression on and off all my life, problems working, running a household etc. I have been diagnosed with all types of problems, the worst being bpd. I have had to fight to be taken seriously by the nhs, eventually the offered me an emotional skills coping course, which I felt would not address my problems in any useful way, as I don't recognise most emotions, I don't understand them and become overwhelmed, Against my better judgement I attended the appointment to discuss the course with an occupational therapist, who agreed with me that it would likely a waste of a place for me, we discussed much, including the fact that my problems go back almost to birth, that I have googled some of the comments my mother made about my behaviour as a tiny child and always aspergers pops up, on every comment, my problems had to be caused by something more, little children don't have bpd!

 

The occupational therapist said aspergers, you don't display the signs, then she asked me lots of questions about things I couldn't understand the relevance of at the time. The upshot of it is, I have been referred to the micklem centre in Winchester for an assessment, I am nearly 47 and have spent the last decade pushing for help in one way or another.

 

Personally I would ask lots of questions about my behaviour as a very young child, put it together with what you feel are your problems, write an essay with references if needed, then go back see the gp and ask for out of county referral to a specialist centre, or pay privately although off the top of my head I would expect the cost to be a couple of thousand, so its not cheap. Good luck x

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Frey   

To the original post... You just described me. I was diagnosed with AS last year and certain events in my past and the way I reacted to them suddenly make sense. I think maybe I'm getting a bit to hung up on them. I will say this, since being diagnosed I have started to struggle. Before I was diagnosed I was called lazy and impulsive and I shrugged it off with an "Up yours," and a "Whatever." Since being diagnosed, I've lost that F-You attitude and have become more inward thinking and depressed. I feel the heavy burden of being labled and I don't like it. It grinds me down. It's oppressive. I had two meetings with a psychiatrist. After he diagnosed me I was discharged and given a few leaflets, "Here you go son, you're on your own."

 

I feel so alone and useless...

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trekster   

I have also gone through the reactive depression stage after being given a leaflet and diagnosis age 16. More than 1/2 my life ago.

 

Everything I have found out about autism (and my other disabilities) has been from speaking with others who share similar experiences,

getting my BPhil, going on courses and reading around the subject.

 

I went off gluten, dairy and many other foodstuffs that were contributing to my angry type depression. I also take omega 3 oils and b vits

to help with the depression. Life has been really difficult but I am determined to carry on going and trying to help others.

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Mark123   

Hi, I was recently diagnosed by woman called maxine Aston in Coventry, she has a website she charges 395 pounds but u will know one way or the other. Good luck

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