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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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is it possible to be both autistic & Bipolar If so, can it

Customer Question

is it possible to be both autistic & Bipolar ? If so, can it be hereditry ?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 7 years ago.
Yes it is. The bipolar is most likely genetic. Autism has to occur to before age 3 to be autism. The genitics are are very unclear. May be damage during pregnancy. Only 5% of siblings have autism. A friend of mine does have autistic twins. Looking at that patttern suggests a very recessive genetic factor that may just be a predispostion or a combnation of factors.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
THIS DIDNT HELP ME AT ALL, I DO NOT KNOW IF I AM AUTISTIC MYSELF OR ON THE SPECTRUM, BUT I AM FEMALE 32, HAVE NEVER HAD A PROPER MENSTRUAL CYCLE, YET HAVE HAD 3 CHILDREN NATURALLY MY FIRST WAS STILLBORN MY SON IS 9 & AUTISTIC AND MY DAUGHTER WHO'S 5 HAS A DIFFERENT FATHER, I MYSELF HAVE A FATHER WHO'S SCHZOPHRENIC A GRANDFATHER WHO'S EPILECTIC & I AM BIPOLAR, OR AT LEAST IT'S THE ONLY CONDITION I HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH, SO I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO TO GET MY BRAIN SCANNED TO FIND OUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME, IF I AM AUTISTIC HAVE I PASSED IT ONTO MY SON ?
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.
Hi bi-polar babe:

Dr. Wilfong asked that I step in and assist, as I have helped a lot of clients on the Autism spectrum. To answer your concerns directly, there is not currently an adequate brain scan that can definitively diagnose a person "Autistic" or "Asperger's," nor is there (unfortunately) a blood test. Rather, a therapist who tends to specialize in these complications will be required to conduct/complete the evaluation.

I will say also that having a schozophrenic parent does not play into the hand of Autism spectrum. Schizophrenia is a problem with the dopamine systems within the brain... but Autism Spectrum children almost invariably have a parent (or two) who have issues related to the serotonin systems. Hence, Spectrum kids almost without exception have issues related to anxiety in their psychological make-up. And frankly, given your lineage, it would be more likely that you inherited schizophrenia 9or perhaps a milder thought disorder) from your ancestors than Autism.

Lastly, if you are Autistic, there is a chance you can pass it to your child. However, the research on this topic is still in its infancy, as we struggle to discover the exact etiology of the rather complicated disorder. for now, there have not been very strong links between mothers and children.

Oh and incidentally, bi-polarity does not rule out Autism nor vice-versa. It is completely possible for both to exist.

Everything Dr. Wilfong mentioned to you is absolutely true and accurate - but I understand your fears. I will repeat for the sake of emphasis that you should enlist a therapist or psychiatrist who deals with Autism spectrum to assist you with the diagnostic process. Anything short of that (including an internet consult) would be incomplete.
Be Well-

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Thanks!

Dr. Steve

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