Autism And Schizophrenia: Can You Have Schizophrenia And Autism At The Same Time?

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 12/22/2020

According to the Center for Disease Control or CDC, roughly one out of every 54 children lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is something that people are born with, and it does not go away. Children are not the only ones impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder; adults can also be Autistic. When someone is diagnosed with Autism, it means that they’ve had their whole life and will have it for the rest of their lives. Additionally, it’s important to remember that people can be diagnosed with Autism at any point in their lifetimes. People whose symptoms were missed as children, can be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder later in life, which answers many questions for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder who were previously undiagnosed. But, you might wonder, can people have both Autism and Schizophrenia? Do these disorders have any overlap? Keep reading to find out.

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What Is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that exists on a spectrum. In the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM, which is the DSM-5, Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed under the category of Neurodevelopmental disorders. Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder may include but are not limited to:

  • Trouble making eye contact
  • Difficulty understanding social cues
  • A flat or monotone voice
  • Taking things literally (for example, someone might take jokes or sarcasm literally)
  • Routines or rituals and being distressed by changes in routines
  • A strong and persistent interest in a particular topic
  • Repeated language (echolalia)
  • Repeated movements, such as hand flapping or other self-stimulatory behaviors, are sometimes referred to as stimming.
  • Starting to speak later than other children, limited speech, or not speaking at all in some cases
  • Meltdowns

When talking about Autism, it is absolutely essential to remember that everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism is different. No two people with Autism are the same. You don’tneed to have every symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder to have Autism. For example, some people with Autism are nonverbal, where many people with Autism speak fluently. It is more commonly diagnosed in men or boys than it is in women. There are differences in how Autism Spectrum Disorder can present in males vs. females that may lead to this disparity in diagnosis. Note that what used to be diagnosed as Asperger’s is now diagnosed under Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you believe that you may have Autism, it is important to talk to a provider who can give you a referral for a formal Autism evaluation or look for an Autism center in your area.

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a disorder that causes a person to disconnect from reality through symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder listed in the DSM under a category called “schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.” Schizophrenia is characterized by a number of symptoms, including at least two or more of the following:

  • Delusions (firmly held, yet false, beliefs)
  • Hallucinations (often, hearing voices or seeing things that are not there)
  • Disorganized speech
  • Negative symptoms, such as diminished emotional expression, abolition (a lack of motivation or ability to perform tasks or complete goals), or alogia (“poverty of speech” or lack of productive speech)
  • Marked disorganized or catatonic behavior

Other symptoms of Schizophrenia may include but aren’t limited to insomnia or trouble sleeping, abnormal posture or movements, trouble concentrating or focusing, withdrawal from others or social isolation, and a lack of interest or ability to engage in activities one would typically enjoy. Schizophrenia, when untreated, disturbs one’s ability to perform at work, school, and in social relationships or social situations. There’s no known cure for Schizophrenia. However, with treatment, someone with Schizophrenia can achieve symptom management and live a full, healthy life. Once Schizophrenia is diagnosed, maintenance treatment is vital. Therapy is a common treatment option that can also be combined with other treatment options, such as medications.

Always consult a medical or mental health professional for advice and guidance on medication and specific treatment options.

Can You Have Both Autism And Schizophrenia?

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What Is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that exists on a spectrum. In the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM, which is the DSM-5, Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed under the category of Neurodevelopmental disorders. Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder may include but are not limited to:

  • Trouble making eye contact
  • Difficulty understanding social cues
  • A flat or monotone voice
  • Taking things literally (for example, someone might take jokes or sarcasm literally)
  • Routines or rituals and being distressed by changes in routines
  • A strong and persistent interest in a particular topic
  • Repeated language (echolalia)
  • Repeated movements, such as hand flapping or other self-stimulatory behaviors, are sometimes referred to as stimming.
  • Starting to speak later than other children, limited speech, or not speaking at all in some cases
  • Meltdowns

When talking about Autism, it is absolutely essential to remember that everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism is different. No two people with Autism are the same. You don’tneed to have every symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder to have Autism. For example, some people with Autism are nonverbal, where many people with Autism speak fluently. It is more commonly diagnosed in men or boys than it is in women. There are differences in how Autism Spectrum Disorder can present in males vs. females that may lead to this disparity in diagnosis. Note that what used to be diagnosed as Asperger’s is now diagnosed under Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you believe that you may have Autism, it is important to talk to a provider who can give you a referral for a formal Autism evaluation or look for an Autism center in your area.

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a disorder that causes a person to disconnect from reality through symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder listed in the DSM under a category called “schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.” Schizophrenia is characterized by a number of symptoms, including at least two or more of the following:

  • Delusions (firmly held, yet false, beliefs)
  • Hallucinations (often, hearing voices or seeing things that are not there)
  • Disorganized speech
  • Negative symptoms, such as diminished emotional expression, abolition (a lack of motivation or ability to perform tasks or complete goals), or alogia (“poverty of speech” or lack of productive speech)
  • Marked disorganized or catatonic behavior

Other symptoms of Schizophrenia may include but aren’t limited to insomnia or trouble sleeping, abnormal posture or movements, trouble concentrating or focusing, withdrawal from others or social isolation, and a lack of interest or ability to engage in activities one would typically enjoy. Schizophrenia, when untreated, disturbs one’s ability to perform at work, school, and in social relationships or social situations. There’s no known cure for Schizophrenia. However, with treatment, someone with Schizophrenia can achieve symptom management and live a full, healthy life. Once Schizophrenia is diagnosed, maintenance treatment is vital. Therapy is a common treatment option that can also be combined with other treatment options, such as medications.

Always consult a medical or mental health professional for advice and guidance on medication and specific treatment options.

Can You Have Both Autism And Schizophrenia?

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The Mentalhealthforum.net Schizophrenia Forum

Mentalhealthforum.net is a website with various mental health forums, including forums for depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Schizophrenia, and more. You can access the schizophrenia forum on mentahealthforum.net here: https://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/forums/schizophrenia-forum.31/. Note that there is also a forum for schizoaffective disorder on this website.

The Psychforums.com Schizophrenia Forum

Like mental healthforum.net, psychforums.com is a website with various forums for different mental health disorders and concerns, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Schizophrenia, and more. You can access the Schizophrenia forum on psychforums.com here: https://www.psychforums.com/forum.html.

The Schizophrenia.com Forum

This is the website created specifically in relation to Schizophrenia, so unlike the websites above, it focuses specifically on Schizophrenia and related disorders rather than having forums for a variety of different mental health conditions. You can access the schizophrenia.com forum here https://forum.schizophrenia.com.

Peer support for Autism Spectrum Disorder is also available both online and in-person. It can be found through a quick online search or a recommendation from a provider in your area.

Take The Mind Diagnostics Schizophrenia Test

Are you questioning if you could have Schizophrenia? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics schizophrenia test. The Mind Diagnostics schizophrenia test is for those aged 18 and older, and it is free, fast, and confidential. Although it is not a replacement for an evaluation or diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional, taking the test can give you insight into your symptoms, and it might just be the first step to getting the help that you need. The Mind Diagnostics website has various mental health tests, which you can locate by visiting our homepage.

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To take the Mind Diagnostics Schizophrenia test, click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/schizophrenia-test.