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Featured Can Asperger's get worse as you age?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by AngelWings17, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. AngelWings17

    AngelWings17 Well-Known Member

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    I'm just thinking out loud because there are some times, a lot of it is when I'm out of the house, where I feel like my Asperger's has gotten worse. Is it possible for it to get worse as you age?
     
  2. DC1346

    DC1346 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so. If anything older individuals such as myself have accumulated so many life experiences that our scripts are quite well developed. This allows us to maintain the illusion of normalcy even though we will never be normal.
     
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  3. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Comorbids like anxiety could get worse, though.
     
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  4. DC1346

    DC1346 Well-Known Member

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    7-dwarves-of-old-age-dwarves-old-age-demotivational-poster-1231310512.jpg
     
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  5. 23andaspie

    23andaspie aspie ordinary

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    What symptoms in particular do you feel have gotten worse, and why? I agree with Yiva's comment -- it is more likely than not a symptom of a co-morbid mental health condition than the Aspergers itself. Of course, the distinction between the two is not very clear, especially with a 50% co-morbidity of depression within the ASD population.

    Not long ago scientists believed that the brain was fixed after a certain age, and that no new neurons formed after a certain age. This theory has been debunked in the 1990s with the theory of neuroplasticity and evidence of neurogenesis (birth of new neurons) in the hippocampus largely thanks to better technology like fMRIs.

    The distinction as to which condition your symptoms fall under is unimportant. The important thing to know is that your brain changes with experience, and that means changes both negative and positive are possible. So yes, symptoms could worsen, but what goes along with that is that you have the capacity to make positive change.
     
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  6. AsheSkyler

    AsheSkyler Feathered Jester

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    From folks I've talked to, some symptoms get better and some get worse. What those symptoms belong to I have no idea. Symptom overlap is such a pain in the butt. Sometimes literally!
     
  7. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That might really depend on the individual.

    I think the notion of normalcy is relative. I never really fit in anywhere, and for the longest time I didn't consider it to be because of my Asperger's. In fact; I still don't think that me being a bit "weirder" is dictated solely by my autism. I have a fair amount of odd interests and in general like and do all kinds of stuff that might fall outside of the norm.

    Do social skills increase over time? Yeah, for some... but that might also depend on the environment you're in.

    I also support the notion Ylva pointed out; comorbids might get worse. That can have a lot of reasons, and they, in turn might actually fire up all kinds of behavior that is considered autistic again. It might be something along the lines of "trying to find your comfort zone again". And that, in general seems quite human to do, it just doesn't mean everyone exhibits the same kind of behavior; let alone normative behavior, to feel mentally stable.

    Looking at my own situation in terms of education and employment; I'm quite sure that, in a sense I've gotten worse. But hey; let's see how many others, even non-autistic folks, deal with life when support gets cut one way or another. And since we live in a society that sets arbitrary targets; for example 18 means you're adult and suddenly, overnight, you're bombarded with all kinds of new obligations. Those targets differ per country, but I'm quite sure that not everyone deals with these weird "enforced" obligations that belong to a gender, age, race or whatever you have, that make you more and more a part of that specific community, are something everyone handles well.
     
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  8. Datura

    Datura Well-Known Member

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    I have heard others mention that they believe their sensory issues have worsened with age. However, general concensus seems to be that as you age you accumulate more coping skill, so overall things get better.

    Is there a new source of stress in you life? This could be hampering your ability to cope.
     
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  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I agree with those who say that social skills can get better with age, as one gains more experience. However, my experience is that those enhanced social skills come at a cost - it takes a lot of energy to be social, maintain a public facade and suppress the aspies traits. As I've said elsewhere, one can change how one presents to others, but not one's brain wiring. So then, as one gets older, responsibilities and demands on the aspie to perform to a certain standard increase, and it takes a lot more energy to maintain one's public facade. Along come stress/anxiety, and eventually burnout. With the burnout come depression and decreased energy and motivaton levels, and one finds oneself unable to perform at the same level as one used to. But this is really the effect of the burnout or depression, and not due to Asperger's getting worse.
     
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  10. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Active Member

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    I feel like I've got worse with age; so does my mum. I'm far more sensitive to sound and light than I used to be and I'm much more reclusive. And, no, my 'comorbids' haven't got worse, I'm just not a high-functioning aspie with a good job, who is amazingly articulate in public, who is married and has children, etc. etc.
     
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  11. AngelWings17

    AngelWings17 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, wow. Such a wealth of knowledge and understanding in this forum. I have noticed that my anxiety has gotten worse to the point where it's starting to run my life now. There are times when I don't even feel safe inside my safe zone: my bedroom. So it's possible that that is what's worsening some symptoms of my Asperger's. I can't exactly put my finger on what the specific symptoms are, but I know some are getting worse.
     
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  12. Nisk

    Nisk The Spoiler King

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    I thought I was getting worse. It turns out I wasn't what had really happened was I'd created a routine of isolation in my life. I'd become overwhelmed by to much social interactions before and started to distance myself from the world. I did this for long enough that the thought of returning to the social world seemed more overwhelming than it actually is. Because I'd created a routine of isolation to try and break it would cause me mini meltdowns. Eventually circumstances forced me to break the routine and I realized that I'd not "lost" any coping skills or become worse. I'd unknowingly created this state of "getting worse" by not doing things anymore that made me uncomfortable. I've realized now that my social skills are much better than they were before and that I can actually do things socially again, it's just a matter of balance.
     
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  13. Naturalist

    Naturalist Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the insights regarding co-morbids and exterior stressors making Aspie traits seem to worsen as we age. I would add from my own experience that as a child I was just regarded as "odd", and my sensory sensitivities weren't extreme, perhaps because I lived in a very stable home environment where all my needs were met and many of my preferences were accomodated to some degree. But when I moved out on my own, I suddenly found myself to be overwhelmed and overstimulated, on social and sensory levels. I think stress is a huge factor for me, and I'm never really free from it in the way I occasionally was as a child. I've learned some new coping strategies and I don't have some of the conspicuous traits like talking endlessly about my narrow interests when in the company of others, but the trade-off is that I am so anxious about what not to say, that sometimes I stutter and can't form sentences properly. So one Aspie trait is replaced by another, with anxiety being the altering factor.
     
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  14. On the Inside

    On the Inside Well-Known Member

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    At times, Asperger's traits can seem to get better/worse.

    I think it is a function of environment, support, responsibilities, and how those change as we get older. I went through a period of increasing anxiety that caused me to back out of responsibilities, commitments, social life, interests. Things had changed a lot in my life and my coping strategies weren't as effective or didn't work at all, I needed to retreat and regroup, get my anxiety under control and now I am in the process of re-evaluating and renegotiating with myself and others.

    It's not been an easy process. All of it has exposed many of my not-so-helpful Aspie traits, and amplified and inflated some of them so that it appears as though they have gotten worse. Stress will do that.
     
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  15. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Well I am pretty old and I do not think my AS symptoms have ever changed. I think that as time passes, I get better at dealing with them. But I am still the same Aspie that I have always been.
     
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  16. Warmheart

    Warmheart Something nerdy this way comes V.I.P Member

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    The hormones of adolescence or menopause can make for a spectacularly bumpy ASD ride. :D

    Developing but unsuspected food intolerances happen as we all age. We lose our effectiveness in ability to filter out substances we develop intolerances to (even when as yet unaware of this intolerance), so caffeine, gluten, lactose, and other potential irritants can make meltdowns and fog-outs more likely. Brains have to contend with whatever crosses the blood-brain barrier, including stuff we don't yet know we're intolerant to. Since ditching gluten, fewer meltdowns and a clearer mind make my ASD notably easier-- and it was getting more challenging before.

    Responsibilities put us in sensory-overload-rich environments. As adults, we can't always crawl into our hidey-holes. We are front & center at the bank, post office, crowded grocery, riding noisy buses, trains. Sensory overload freak-outs a-plenty!

    Nutrition may become less of a priority. As kids leave home, adults cook less, and rely on simple meals more. Toast and tea doesn't feed a brain the way a more nutrient-dense meal would.

    We may skimp more on exercise. Adults who drive cars, have busy jobs, have kids, or have achy joints may exercise less. Regular exercise helps provide the vestibular and proprioceptive sensory input many ASD brains crave. Without this to self-regulate, our moods and frustration tolerance can plummet. Remembering to add in regular walking, swimming, dancing, etc. can help lots!

    Just some considerations.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
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  17. AngelWings17

    AngelWings17 Well-Known Member

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    Well that's just it. I don't want to ever cut anything out of my diet aside from the more processed junk. I don't believe in diets unless they are necessary. The only caffeine I really consume would be in sodas and non-naturally decaffeinated teas.
     
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  18. RidingDutchman

    RidingDutchman Well-Known Member

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    I dont think it can get worse but I do think the symptoms can worsen.

    When I was still in preschool/highschool and stuff life was pretty much thought out for me, I just had to follow and do what I was told and that way everything worked out right for me.

    Now as I'm failing college miserably, I realize that as soon as people let to of my leash, I get confused and lose sense of direction. Basically get lost in a world I just don't quite understand.

    So no, aspergers doesn't get worse when you get older, but the problems can get a lot worse because people start to expect of you to do things on your own, which in turn might cause severe issues
     
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  19. AngelWings17

    AngelWings17 Well-Known Member

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    Huh... Like a lost puppy that was put on the streets, huh? That's actually a really good analogy. I do tend to think of myself as a lost/confused puppy at times as well as an awkward turtle.
     
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  20. On the Inside

    On the Inside Well-Known Member

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    I've felt that way a lot, too. Unfortunately, I lacked the awareness that I was "put on the streets" so to speak, and thought that I was doing alright. As I went through my thirties, I started to realize I was severely lacking in some important areas, and was not keeping up. I blame it on tunnel vision brought on by devotion to my interests, and being (barely) able to earn a living with them.:confused: The severe issues started to be apparent.
     
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