Psychosis in autism: comparison of the features of both conditions in a dually affected cohort.


BackgroundThere is limited information on the presentation and characteristics of psychotic illness experienced by people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).AimsTo describe autistic and psychotic phenomenology in a group of individuals with comorbid ASD and psychosis (ASD-P) and compare this group with populations affected by either, alone.MethodWe studied 116 individuals with ASD-P. We compared features of their ASD with people with ASD and no comorbid psychosis (ASD-NP), and clinical characteristics of psychosis in ASD-P with people with psychosis only.ResultsIndividuals with ASD-P had more diagnoses of atypical psychosis and fewer of schizophrenia compared with individuals with psychosis only. People with ASD-P had fewer stereotyped interests/behaviours compared with those with ASD-NP.ConclusionsOur data show there may be a specific subtype of ASD linked to comorbid psychosis. The results support findings that psychosis in people with ASD is often atypical, particularly regarding affective disturbance.