Many people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder are also affected by other stress-related physical illnesses. While ASD might not be directly responsible for the stress, its effect can lead to stress, through one of the many avenues that a person with ASD will take.
For example; shyness, embarrassment, inconfidence, nervousness, communication problems, social issues, peer pressure, sibling rivalry, bullying, abuse, fear of criticism and phobias, can lead to stress and this can take its toll physically.
- Acid Reflux / Indigestion
- Dermatitis / Skin conditions
- IBS and ulcers
…and many other stress related illnesses often accompany mental health conditions and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
If you notice, the people who have these physical conditions are usually people who worry or feel guilt a lot of the time. Many are perfectionists and always worry that their work or contributions to those around them is not good enough. Some less scrupulous people perhaps of low ethics, or living on the wrong side of the law, often worry that they will be caught, and worrying on a day to day basis cannot fail to have its effect on the body.
Most people on the autistic spectrum are unable to handle stress well, and end up letting stress get the better of them. While everyone feels stressed from time to time, people with ASD are much more likely to feel stress a lot of the time, simply because many of them worry so much more than neurotypical people. They provide themselves with the stress a lot of the time.
Even Chronic Pain has found to be much more prevalent in people with anxiety. Most doctors know that osteoarthritis pain, for example, can be made worse by stress. But Dr John E. Sarno, MD who has done lots of research and experimentation on the Mindbody Connection has been able to provide evidence that the brain can cause chronic pain to begin with. He says the anxious, unconscious mind deprives degenerated areas of oxygenated blood, and this causes physiological pain. In fact he has found that only around half the people with degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, actually have pain. This appears to prove that the condition alone is not the cause of the pain.
Sarno believes that the brain is always aware of what is physically going on in the body, and makes adjustments accordingly. He also believes it is possible that the phenomenon spans thousands of diseases and physiological conditions. Many other doctors support his theories, and people are starting to take notice of the Mindbody Connection and changing their attitudes towards health.
As a result of the many things people with ASD have to contend with mentally, their bodies can be affected by one or more of the many stress related physiological conditions. This in turn gives the patient more to worry about, and their health can as a result, deteriorate more rapidly than a neurotypical person with the same physical condition.