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Understanding Asperger’s Symptoms in Adults
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism.
Asperger’s syndrome was a unique diagnosis listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until 2013, when all forms of autism were combined under one umbrella diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Many doctors still use the term Asperger syndrome, or Asperger’s, but all autism diagnoses are now ASD.
People with Asperger’s syndrome may have high intelligence and better than average verbal skills. Asperger’s is considered a high-functioning form of autism.
What are the main Asperger’s symptoms in adults?
Most adults with AS have few cognitive or language skill delays. In fact, you may have above-average intelligence. However, adults with AS may experience other symptoms. Many of these can significantly affect daily life.
No two people experience AS in quite the same way. You may have only a few of these symptoms, or you may experience all of them at different times.
Symptoms of high-functioning ASD in adults can be divided into three areas:
Emotional and behavioral symptoms
Individuals with AS may also experience symptoms that can be considered beneficial or helpful.
For example, as noted above, adults with AS often have a remarkable ability to focus. You may be able to concentrate on an issue or problem, especially if it interests you, for long periods of time.
Likewise, your attention to detail may make you incredibly successful at problem solving.
How is Asperger’s diagnosed in adults?
Currently, there’s no specific test that can diagnose Asperger’s syndrome in adults. There are no current diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome in adults either.
Autism spectrum disorders are usually diagnosed in early childhood. It’s becoming less common for you to reach adulthood without an autism diagnosis if you show signs or symptoms. However, it’s not impossible.
If you believe you have autism spectrum disorder, discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. You may be referred to a specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can assess your behaviors and symptoms, and help determine if you have AS or another ASD.
Criteria your healthcare provider may consider include:
IS ASPERGER’S STILL A DIAGNOSIS?
Asperger’s syndrome is no longer included in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). If you have Asperger’s syndrome, your healthcare provider may still use the term Asperger syndrome or Asperger’s. However, your diagnosis will be autism spectrum disorder.
How is Asperger’s treated in adults?
There’s no cure for Asperger’s syndrome. However, these treatments may help autistic adults cope with symptoms and difficulties.
Adults with Asperger’s syndrome may experience symptoms such as:
However, adults with AS often have strong intellectual abilities and vocabulary skills. You pay great attention to detail and can focus for extended periods of time.
While most individuals with Asperger’s syndrome or an autism spectrum disorder will be diagnosed as children, some adults will not find a solution to their symptoms until adulthood.
With a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, you can find therapies and treatments to help you cope with any challenges you face and live a healthy, productive life that’s fulfilling and happy.