Hi, I'm new here.
I would just like to ask if anyone has advice on where I could find someone professional to talk to about the likelihood of an autism diagnosis. I have been driving myself crazy for the last 6 months researching about autism and whether I am or am not autistic, and I just keep going round in circles.
I'm worried that I might just be making this all up in my head, so instead of going for a very expensive autism diagnosis straight off I wondered if anyone could recommend someone I could just explore the idea with first. I live in Scotland, but would be willing to travel or maybe even do an online session if anyone can recommend anyone good. I'm looking for someone who has good experience of women with autism, as I work very hard to act "normal", and have been quite successful at this. I think a lot of people would just dismiss me because I can make eye contact (mostly) and conversation.
I just had a very disappointing appointment with a psychiatrist today and I think I really need to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about (when I mentioned autism she said that the thought had crossed her mind while talking to me, but that it wasn't her area of expertise, and that she didn't think that being autistic would explain my recurrent periods of severe depression or my "emotional disregulation" (meltdowns?) when I think it is a very plausible explanation for both!)
Sorry for rambling but when I started to feel like she wasn't listening to me and just wanted to put me on more drugs I had a mini "emotional disregulation" in her office and ended up crying hysterically for an hour, and now my brain is like jelly so I might not be making sense here.
Many thanks for any advice you can offer!
I'm not sure I can be much help but If you are planning on paying for private diagnosis then alot of places offer a "screening" service that gives you an indication of whether or not you should pursue a full assessment.
These vary in price I know that the lorna wing centre starts at £200 it may be worth talking to them before hand to see what they recommend. And at least they are understanding autism in women
Getting an assessment through the NHS is a possibility, but the waiting can be quite a long time in some areas (e.g., 2-3 years). You can look up the NAS directory to see if there are any private services that cost less: https://www.autism.org.uk/directory/browse/cid=80~aid=9.aspx Google can also be useful to look up information. You can also ask your GP if they might have any suggestions. Or call the NAS helpline for advice.
Tell them any symptoms from here scroll down to the adult checklist https://www.autism.org.uk/professionals/health-workers/gp-info.aspx
Go to the doctor and tell them that you want to be tested. https://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/adults.aspx
you should be registered with the local diagnostic center.
And will probably receive the AQ10. You can take this now, and you probably have done one similar. https://www.aspietests.org/aq/questions.php
You will wait forever (depending on if they lose you in the system, suggest checking with a doctor and then who they referred you to after two weeks) and then receive some more forms
AQ50 - big brother of aq10
EQ - emotional quotient
RQ - Relative questionnaire
A personal form, employment, education, mental health, address, family, form and a lot.
you can take these tests online https://psychology-tools.com/
You will wait forever (see above)
You may then be invited to an interview
And then you will wait some more.
It can take up to 2 years to get a result. this is from first speaking to your doctor. I think most Autism centers are part-time. Or at least employ part-time staff.
So I suggest if you are having problems to ask the local social services for an adult social assessment. And join an Asperger/autism support group.
people will often say thinks in a person that they won't say on a forum. And vice versa. For the complete picture get lots of information from different sources.
I wouldn’t go near one of those things again. They’ll have you looked up and restrained and sedated before you know it.
Those things - NHS psychiatrists are peddlers for drugs. They basically work for the drug company and sell thier SSRIs.
There was a story on the radio yesterday about children basically being abused by so called authority after being sectioned for being autistic!
I know one of them - he was once a customer of mine. Then he admitted ‘selling anti depressants’ for drug company’s.
He also Invalidated me with three words.
He’s Very experienced as a drug seller for these company’s. Actually he’s clueless regarding autism. He’s a loose cannon - they all are.
Not to alarm you, however; NICE says no antidepressants
Most psychiatrists aren't that well acquainted with ASD so I wouldn't be too surprised that they didn't have much knowledge about it.
Psychologists, speech and occupational therapists are often more involved in ASD diagnosis (with kids it's often a whole team of people, with adults it can vary). The NHS service I got my diagnosis through employ a variety of professionals (I would guess probably with an overseeing psychologist) and the guy that did my assessment was actually an occupational therapist.
You almost certainly want to look at seeing a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. I would look at the British Psychological Society register here for psychologists in your area, look through to find ones that have experience in autism in adults and then contact them individually to see what they can do and how much experience they have in diagnosing women. As already pointed out, if you're set on going privately almost everywhere will do a preliminary screening before deciding whether you should be assessed further, so you don't usually have to commit to a full expensive assessment right off the bat.
I'm so sorry to hear you have had a bad experience but I feel it is important to say that not all psychiatrists are like that.
People may be scared away from getting help when actually there are some very good psychiatrists out there.
I'm very lucky to have met one of them. My psychiatrist had actually noted that I should not be medicated and has never tried to give me a prescription.
To be clear, I'm not trying to invalidate your experience. It doesn't sound good but I felt it was important to reach out so others know that seeing a psychiatrist can be hugely helpful.
Through my psychiatrist I have received my ASD diagnosis when no one else has been willing or knowledgeable enough to get me an assessment. My psychiatrist has supported me with difficulties that have come up during the assessment process and is continuing to see me until psychology are able to offer me sessions.
I have not been restrained.
I have not been sedated.
I have been treated very well. My psychiatrist has been reliable and consistent.
My psychiatrist has made sure I get all the physical health monitoring my other conditions require.
There are good psychiatrists out. Good psychiatrists who will help people get the diagnosis and treatment they need.
I have found here https://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc_tests proper tests for autism, the first one AAA measures your AQ, EQ and your mum's score. For instance, I am waiting for my mum's sheet but without hers, on AQ I scored 35, on EQ 19 which shows I actually lack social understanding and I show traits of autism.
I am in the same situation. The educational psychologist I saw 2 weeks ago said I could not be autistic because I make eye contact(and I don't, I'm looking at mouths or nose to everybody beside my kids, my mom and my feiance) and I am ok at abstract reasoning test.
I don't have money to spend on the expensive diagnosis, and I don't know what to expect from one(is it that test I referred you to? would be actually my first question given the fact that they ask a relative or more of them to be with you?)
Through time I learned to go and calm down in the bathroom rather than say what I think to certain people or ask for help . This really impairs with my academic performance now. I don't ask for help and the tutor won't ask me anything, I am feeling like the invisible man when all I want is learn adequate stuff for postgraduate study and do it properly to satisfy my need of everything to be perfect in my project.
Sorry for my English,is my second language.
The tests in https://psychology-tools.com/ are the same tests. Except they calculated for you.Beware some of the tests in https://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc_tests are not to be taken a signle indication of autism. The
AQ10, ten questions, is a statistically probably smallest test you can take to indicate autism.
However, on the arctest website, there are many random tests, which may or not have significance.
"None of them are diagnostic: No single score on any of our tests or questionnaires indicates that an individual has an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)."
All the best, making an informed choice.