ASD and psychosis

Hi all, 

I'm really happy to find so many people, especially women, on the spectrum as I'm struggling to find someone in person. I was diagnosed with Asperger's 2.5 weeks ago, aged 23... not too long ago! I've been finding it very difficult to cope over the last 10 months, and 2 weeks ago I was referred to an early psychosis intervention community mental health team by my psychiatrist after hearing voices and seeing things which aren't real. I'm really worried I cannot cope for much longer and will have to drop out of my PhD, which is the main area I obsess over!

Has anybody else suffered with this, is this normal for Aspies to go through? Does anybody have any advice about what helps, or any other useful ideas?

I'm looking forward to reading through people's experiences... Have a great day!

E x

  • This may be of interest. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/210/4/269   It suggests psychosis in autism is more likely to be atypical. I have autistic traits whether enough to meet the level for an autism dx is debatable. I am listed as having had psychotic symptoms -NB delusions.

    My most chronic and enduring difficulty is with social interaction. I've had less than a handful of friends in 60 years. My lack of friends stretches back well  before any overt mental health signs. This contrasts with many just with psychosis who often have friends only to lose them when psychosis develops.

  • Hi E, just been wondering how you are doing. Hope you are getting a bit more support by now.

  • I have ASD and suffer from psychosis too. The psychosis has been really frightening and severely knocked my confidence so I can sympathise.

    In regards to the money aspect of your course, as any extensions would be disability-related it may be possible for the university's disability services to either get these fees waived or to pay for them for you. If not, you may be able to apply for you universities hardship fund to pay for this.

    Do you receive Personal Independence Payment? I do and its a huge weight off my mind. I receive around £331 every four weeks and as I was awarded the enhanced rate I am also eligible for the disability premium of any benefits, so if I ever can't work I won't have to struggle as much. If you did receive PIP you may also be eligible for housing benefit whilst you're a student.  My main tip when sending off the application form is to hand in as much independence evidence as possible to back up the point you make. This could include a letter from your MH mentor or psychiatrist, a print out of your GP records with the relevant points highlighted etc

    https://www.gov.uk/pip

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/ 

  • Hi E,

    I'm autistic and take antipsychotics (aripiprazole).  I think I had psychotic episodes about ten years ago.  I say 'I think' because I now don't have such great memories of the time.  I know I thought odd things, which didn't seem odd at the time, and I think I heard voices, but I thought they were real.  I'm doing my PhD now, and I'm finding the obsession of the PhD very useful to get back into stride with everyone. But I work from home and am doing it part-time.  I'm at the end of my second year and have an Introduction written, a lit review done, a methodology chapter written and I'm gathering data at the moment for a chapter 4, and am getting ethics approval for a chapter 5 data gathering.  Things are moving along nicely.  I get DLA, now it would be PIP, which is useful financially, as I can't work and do the PhD.  I would be too tired.  The antipsychotics take energy from me, but I still need to take them, as I'm scared of what will happen if I don't.  I hope that you can continue with your PhD, if you need to talk again I come on the site most days.

    Margaret

  • Hi E, 

    Don't fret - I'l tell you my story and hopefully you'll gain some comfort.

    I'm diagnosed ASD1: I also have ADHD and I'm Bipolar 2.....They are the labels, and yes they're from consultant psychiartrists.

    However, having lived with my personality all my life, I have my own take on such things.

    A few years ago, I underwent major surgery, which led to employment issues, the involvment of solicitors and shortly after, two family bereavements.

    These are standard enough life events but, at the time, I felt as though I was losing my grip on reality.

    I had exactly the same symptoms as you and ended up being prescribed anti-psychotic edication and a diagnosis of Bipolar 2.

    What really happened was that I was experiencing, but not handling properly, very intense stress. 

    Have you ever seen a bucket of stress?.....I haven't.

    I can say this now retrospectively, but I know, due to my personality that carries the label ASD1 / Asperger's, I am invredibly prone to anxiety.

    Left unaddressed, I believe this cumulates in people like us, until you actually sense a feeling of complete and utter metdown.

    The most natural thing to do is to "catastrophize", hence why you're thinking of dropping out of your Phd.

    If you're smart enough to get to this level of education, you are just as able to manage yourself and get through such a time, even though you probably think even the slightest issue is insurmountable.

    Yes, people like us do suffer like you, so firstly know there are many, many people like you and just as many who can help you.

    Progress your mental health treatment with the professionals: They know what they're doing.

    Reach out to places like this for support, but above all, believe stressful times like this all eventually pass and that you will be fine in the end.

    Relax, and good luck.