In general, teens and adults with psychological disorders are at higher risk for abusing drugs and alcohol than their nondisordered peers. Fortunately this does not seem to be the case for Asperger’s Disorder. Drugs and alcohol seem to hold little interest for the majority of teens and adults with Asperger’s Disorder. It is not clear why this is the case, but mental health professionals guess that the social isolation that Asperger’s Disorder teens experience may prevent them from being exposed to drugs and alcohol by their peers. Additional prevention factors might also include the lack of need for excitement and sensation-seeking that is characteristic of Asperger’s Disorder.
When alcohol and drugs are used, it is most often a form of self-medicating a secondary disorder. Depression can feel less intense while intoxicated. Social phobia can be temporarily decreased when drugs give a sense of confidence. The short-term relief that substances provide from the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety can quickly create a reinforcing cycle where the teen and adult with Asperger’s Disorder learns that he feels better when under the influence. The obsessional tendency of Asperger’s Disorder increases the chance that once substances are used with any regularity, they may easily become abused.