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Autism/Asperger's and Fibromyalgia

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SarahF86

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I'm an assistant psychologist and in the practice where I work we have begun to notice a pattern  of people, more often women, who have an ASD and either they or another family member in their direct line (e.g. grandparent, child) also has an ASD, and Fibromyalgia. I started doing some research about a possible link, and while there is precious little published work, there seem to be many people experiencing both in their family line. Some research suggests that it may be that both are related to particular genetic differences, like Fragile X syndrome.

Has anyone else noticed this link? Does anyone have both in their family?

Edited on February 23, 2017 - 9:10am

February 05, 2014 - 10:35am

mrs Chris wrote:

hi,

i have both conditions.

my daughter is not autistic, but has ME; 

 

Hi mrs Chris, thanks for the post, that is really interesting, in fact ME/CFS has come up within this area with other people also. I know there are some similarities in symptoms between ME and Fibromyalgia. I will be recruiting for a questionnaire based study on this topic soon, it would be good to know if you are interested in being involved. As soon as the details are finalised I will be posting info on the study in the relevant area on the forum.

Best wishes,

June 14, 2015 - 3:09pm

My husband has recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia after years of pain and my son has also recently been diagnosed as Aspergers.  Could there be a link here??

August 31, 2015 - 9:21pm

Yes, we have both Aspergers and fibromyalgia in our family. The conditions occur over multiple generations too.

Cos Michael

September 01, 2015 - 8:55am

My sister has ASD and developed fibromyalgia. She was told it was probably due to 25 years of medication for a schizophrenia (acknowledged to be a misdiagnosis). This has also brought on early onset osteoporosis as the recommended anual bone density scans never happened. The doctors have apologised for this, but she will live with these problems for the rest of her life. 

It might be worth looking into how many autistic people with fybromyalgia are on antidepressants or psychotropic drugs. It probably won't be all, but it would be interesting to see if numbers are significant.

Hypermobility also seems quite prevalent and that might also be connected.

And many autistic people have poor sleep, which might also be a factor worth looking at as this causes fatigue, a causal factor for the condition.

If you are conducting a survey, these might be useful points to ask about.

September 01, 2015 - 3:39pm

Does anyone know how we put this across to the professionals and how we get help, without the need for years of antidepressants.   It took us long enough to get my son diagnosed with aspergers and only because I did research did my husband finally get a fibromyalgia diagnosis. My son also suffers from crippling fatigue and aching limbs.  I suppose it will be up to us to suggest him being tested! 

March 09, 2017 - 5:48pm

Sarah, I'd like our family to be included in your study if possible.

My understanding is in brief terms that the form of collagen you have is genetically determined and those with more stretchy collagen are likely to (though may not) have a combination of symptoms: the basic one being Hypermobility which can lead on to EDS, ME/CFS, POTS, IBS, Fibromyalgia (with the individual diagnosis really just higlighting the main symptom)

There's also now some research evidence that the physical problem can also cause Anxiety (so mental health problems arent just co-occurring). Indeed a significant number of those with panic disorders are also hypermobile.

I am convinced of the link with Autism as I know of so very many people with both. It may be that the link isnt causal in any sense but it is following through linked chromosomes? whatever the nature of the link, understanding it must be helpful for those who have both

I would love to help get some research conducted into this.

My son with Autism has EDS (and fatigue)

My son without autism has CFS and IBS and now a lot of pain - so EDS

 

AutismAdvocate

September 21, 2017 - 4:51pm

Fibromyalgia is the pain which is likely associated with connective tissue disorder which goes undiagnosed in so many people.  There are estimates that approximately 20% of the population have hypermobility.  Fibromyalgia is the symptom therefore, not the main condition.  Hypermobility/EDS is strongly correlated with ASD.

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