Skip to main content

What are Comorbid Conditions and how do they fit into Aspergers.

Comorbid conditions are "extra problems" that go hand in hand with Aspergers.

There is still a bit of debate over whether these conditions exist separately or whether they are actually just facets or side-effects of Aspergers. Personally, I tend to favor the latter explanation for the most part although I'd agree that some of the stronger comorbids probably are stand-alone.

Comorbids can include a host of mental, adaptive and emotive disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD and ADD), Depression, Anxiety, aggression, Learning disabilities and several other disorders, phobias and conditions.

Some comorbid conditions don't show themselves until adulthood and every aspie has a different combination of comorbid conditions various strengths. This is a problem which makes Aspergers difficult to diagnose. Often, one or more of the comorbid conditions is more noticeable than the others and will be picked up early. This often leads to a "wrong diagnosis" in that the comorbid is seen as the condition, rather than a symptom of Aspergers.

The delay in the Aspergers diagnosis and the effects of re-diagnosis can have a profound effect on families, social and school life. If you strongly suspect Aspergers but have received a comorbid diagnosis, you might want to seek a second opinion before accepting it.

One good thing about the comorbid conditions is that their effects can often be treated/reduced by conventional medicines in much the same way as their "sister" conditions can be treated. Medicines like Ritalin can help with ADD, while others can help with Schizophrenia, self-harm, depression and anxiety.

There is no medication that can counter the effects of aspergers - but you can certainly keep the comorbid conditions under control.


Bryan said…
A well-written post. Agree with you. You can learn more on how to cure attention deficit disorder at It may take quite some time to cure, but it's definitely a good try.
macskadék said…
Yes, from what I've experienced at the self-advocacy group we started, AS seldom comes alone. In my case, the "sister condition" is dyscalculia, which is a bigger problem for me than AS itself is, preventing me to have a hard science career and thus be a valuable person. (It was left undx'd and untreated until now, and with LDs treatment grows exponentially harder as you age.)

My shrink told me that she thought these two cannot affect one simultaneously, as AS represents systematic "manly" thinking and DC represents "womanly" thinking designed for more flexible things than math. All she knew about the whole thing was Baron-Cohen's theory, which obviously didn't include me.
Tom said…
It is the first time I hear about Aspergers. By the way, what does Aspergers actually mean? I need more explanation about it. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
Thanks so much for the insightful and well-reasoned musings on Aspergers Syndrome comorbidity. I have Aspergers and ADD (no H), and I came to the same conclusions as you. No Ritalin for me, though, as I respond poorly to it.

I have another "comorbid" condition which I'd assumed was coincidental, but I recently discovered that a small number of others have it as well, so I'm open to suggestion. I have Schuermann's Kyphosis, a pronounced forward curvature of the spine for which I have worn an upper-body brace these past four years. On the surface, it seemed unlikely that these conditions could be related, but someone pointed out to me that the spinal cord is essentially an extension of the brain. Do you know whether any professional literature (as opposed to "isn't it cool that I have these" internet speculations) has suggested a common denominator?


Gavin Bollard said…

I've not heard of any studies linking the two but you certainly wouldn't be the first person I've talked to who has both aspergers and Schuermann's Kyphosis.

I wonder if it's entirely spinal or if low muscle tone could have had any impact?
Anonymous said…
Hello, Gavin.

Curiously, it was the OVERdevelopment of the dorsii (no, not Tommy & Jimmy) alongside my spine that saved me from the surgery that was necessary for two cousins. At age 15, they each had to have metal bars attached to their spines to recover the proper shape and structural strength. But my muscles "hulked out" back there, and the thoracic vertebrae fused, giving me another 35 years before it all collapsed. You're right about the muscles in this sense, though: I lost 35 pounds in 15 weeks to deal with high cholesterol, but the dorsii were much reduced as a result, and this may have hastened the reckoning.

Thanks for confirming that there are others with this comorbidity in sufficient numbers that I need not hold my reasoning suspect!


Anonymous said…
I have both too. I'm not sure they're related but we can doubly sympathize.
Anonymous said…
Those who have issues with spine/bone, have you looked into Marfan Syndrome? Quite interesting - think it's worth having a look -

Best of luck to all!
Anonymous said…
Is there a chart somewhere that shows Aspergers comorbidity with other syndromes / conditions / whatever? OCD, AD(H)D, Bipolar, PTSD, etc. I'm particularly interested in Aspergers PTSD comorbidity.
Literat said…
In fact, there is a chart, see table 4 here:

Interestingly, ASD traits are also listed for nearly all behavorial symptomes in Klinefelter's syndrome (genotype XXY) meaning there could be a genetic link between an extra X chromosome and ASD. ADHD is also frequently observed with XXY males.

Check out:

Best regards,
Unknown said…
Hi all, Interesting reading, I am reading this with interest for myself and my son, as I read more info the more I believe that I may have aspergers, anxiety, curvature of the spine and suffer from sciatica caused by two twisted vertebrae, if im stressed and or not looking after myself I can trigger it,I have found that I get stressed very easy, and have wondered why for so long, and now have a better understanding for my son and myself. yours karen
Unknown said…
this feels like a robotic thing to do lol
This comment has been removed by the author.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Do Aspies Suddenly Back-Off in Relationships? (Part 1)

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked is why an aspie (or suspected aspie) suddenly goes "cold" and backs off on an otherwise good relationship. It's a difficult question and the answers would vary considerably from one person to another and would depend greatly on the circumstances. Nevertheless, I'll try to point out some possibilities. Negative Reasons I generally like to stay positive on this blog and assume that people are not necessarily "evil" but simply misguided. Unfortunately, I do have to acknowledge that there are some people out there who take advantage of others. I read a book a few years ago on "sociopaths in the workplace" and I was stunned by the figures. They suggested that sociopaths were so common that most workplaces (small business) had at least one or two. The fact is that there are lots of people out there who really feel very little for others and who are very manipulative. I'd like to say that aspies are

Why do Aspies Suddenly Back Off in Relationships (Part 2)

In part one, we looked at the role that Change Resistance plays in causing aspies to suddenly go "cold" in otherwise good relationships. This time, I want to look at self esteem and depression; Self Esteem The aspie relationship with themselves is tedious at best. People with Asperger's commonly suffer from low self esteem. As discussed in earlier posts, this low self esteem often results from years of emotional turmoil resulting from their poor social skills. Aspies are often their own worst enemy. They can over analyze situations and responses in an effort to capture lost nonverbal communication. This often causes them to invent problems and to imagine replies. Everything made up by aspies will tend to be tainted with their own self image. This is one of reasons that people with Asperger's will sometimes decide that they are not good enough for their partner and that they must let them go. Sometimes, the aspie will develop a notion of chivalry or self-sacri

Aspie Myths - "He Won't Miss Me"

I apologise for the excessive "male-orientated" viewpoint in this post. I tried to keep it neutral but somehow, it just works better when explained from a male viewpoint. Here's a phrase that I've seen repeated throughout the comments on this blog on several occasions; "I know that he won't miss me when I'm gone because he's aspie" Today, we're going to (try to) bust that myth; Individuals I'll start off with a reminder that everyone is an individual. If all aspies were completely alike and predictible, they'd be a stereotype but they're not. Each is shaped by their background, their upbringing, their beliefs and their local customs. An aspie who grew up with loud abusive parents has a reasonable chance of becoming loud and abusive themselves because in some cases, that's all they know. That's how they think adults are supposed to behave. In other cases, aspies who grew up in those circumstances do a complete a