New here, looking for a diagnosis!

Hi all

This is my first time here so apologies if I do this wrong.

I'm mid 40s and have always suffered from anxiety/depression and am now seeing similarities between symptoms of autism and myself. Is the only way of getting a diagnosis through your GP? I'm quite paranoid and I think my GP thinks I'm a hypochondriac so I hate the thought of having to go to her, I'm sure she'll just think I'm attention seeking or making it up.

No Data
  • Hi there,

    Asking to be referred for an assessment through your GP is the usual route.  You're doing the right thing by doing your research first, in my opinion.  As you suggest, GPs aren't usually very clued up about autism, and my experience is that if you have presented with anxiety/depression in the past, they will often struggle to see beyond that.

    I was only diagnosed two years ago, when I was 45, and prior to that had been referred for mental health treatment half a dozen times over 30 years.  Aside from two counsellors who suggested a generic psychological assessment (neither of which happened), no-one ever scratched below the surface enough to notice that I had an underlying condition, and autism was certainly never mentioned.  I was surprised at my assessment to find that I wasn't the "borderline case" that I expected, my autism was easy for the assessor to spot, despite it being invisible to anyone previously (that I knew of, anyway.)

    The more you can find out about what typically autistic traits you may have, the better your chance of convincing the doctor.  In particular, the autism test questionnaires that you can find here are not just internet pop psychology.  They are used as formal screening tools by most autism assessment teams, and even in that situation are self-reported without any prompting.  So I suggest that you take those tests, take the results with you to the doctor, and be clear with the doctor that they are clinically proven for initial screening.  Hanging about on forums like this one will also help you to be clear whether and why you suspect autism.  Even two years after assessment, I still have several "aha" moments every week from communication with other autistic people - it's amazing how many things that you've taken for granted for decades can take on a whole new light.

    If you are having trouble getting the GP to see this, there may be an alternative way, however.  If you struggle with anxiety and depression, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for a referral to a counsellor or your local mental health team.  When I finally got referred for assessment, it was because I had been referred for counselling again, and it was the mental health team worker responsible for assigning a counsellor to my case who suggested autism as an explanation for me being such a "repeat customer".  She had a reasonable understanding of the condition, and was convinced enough to write to my GP to push for an assessment.  This might be worth a try if your GP is reluctant.