An Adlerian Perspective of Co-Occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder and Substance Use Disorders: Psychoeducation for Families

Through research, it has become defined that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an evolving disorder that is going to continue to grow and affect the fields of chemical dependency and mental health (Balch & Ray, 2014).  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorders now affect 1 out of 68 children and are continuing to grow every year (Balch & Ray, 2014).  Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term that was created under the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Diagnostic criteria include persistent deficits in social communication and interaction, restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, must be present early in developmental periods and cause clinically significant impairment in many aspects of their lives (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Through several different studies the research shows that smoking marijuana and alcohol are the more prevalent substances misused by those with ASD. There are also other mental health disorders that go along with ASD including anxiety and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder. It has been found helpful that family involvement in treatments processes as well as effective coping skills and the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a client has shown increased improvement in treatment. The use of several different Adlerian techniques such as soft determinism, organ inferiority, teleology, and private logic can all help give different perspectives to people with ASD.

Mikki Mason
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