Depression is by far the most common psychological disorder experienced by adults with Asperger’s Disorder, probably accounting for about 40 percent of secondary disorders. Depression can begin at any point in life. Children can be depressed, but more often it appears during adolescence and adulthood. Adults with Asperger’s Disorder experience frequent depression, most often due to loneliness.
Anxiety is the second most common disorder experienced by adults with Asperger’s Disorder. Their difficulty in social interactions can make them so nervous that they develop social phobia. A more general form of anxiety, called generalized anxiety disorder, is experienced as frequent and uncontrollable worrying about various aspects of daily life.
Still other adults with Asperger’s Disorder may not have severe enough anxiety to have a full disorder, but nonetheless experience bouts of anxiousness. During these episodes it is not uncommon to see a rise in the need for routine. Major life changes can also result in high levels of anxiety, agitation, unpredictable behavior, increased rituals, and confusion.
Adults with Asperger’s Disorder may have some obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors as part of the disorder. However, some adults have repetitive thoughts and rituals that are uncontrollable, distressing, and severe enough to be a secondary diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).