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I Have OCD. Will This Increase My Child's Chance Of Developing Autism?

Question:

I have read that children with Autism may have a parent with an anxiety related disorder, such as OCD. What are the odds of passing OCD on to my child–or in a worse case, elevating my child’s chance of developing autism?

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Answer:

There is very little known about what causes autism except that it is on the rise and scientists are puzzled about why. Speculation has run from the possibility of preservatives used in immunization shots to exposure to electrical currents and a myriad other environment factors including the levels of pollution in the air, ground and water supply.

While not knowing the cause of this disorder and while it is very frustrating and anxiety arousing there is no useful purpose to be gained about vague speculations found on the Internet. Frankly, I have read nothing about a connection between anxiety disorders of any kind, including OCD and autism. What I can tell you that if a child does have one of the autism spectrum disorders wonderful things are being done to enable them to grow and live happy and normal lives.

Please do not worry yourself about highly speculative and doubtful things. I sincerely doubt that there is any connection between anxiety disorders in mothers and infants developing autism. If anxiety in mothers was a cause of autism we would have a world wide pandemic of autism and no such pandemic exists.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Sara

    There IS a link between OCD in families. People with OCD are often found to have parents or grandparents with OCD. It is well known and the supporting research is widely available.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    It is correct that there most certainly is a link demontrating OCD running in families. However, autism is an entirely different type of thing, so much so that it bears no resemblence to OCD.

  • Roger

    Thank you for the reader who commented there is elevated prevalance for OCD and other anxiety disorders among individuals with ASDs. As a pediatric clinician, if I had a nickle for every time I probed around and found, "Oh yes, there are a basketfull" of relatives known or suspected to have OCD or anxiety disorders. I never got that from reading a journal or consulting the literature, it was so in your face that it was hard to miss. Now, I probe family history particularly for such things.

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