The psychiatric management of autism in adults

CR228, July 2020

This document is part of the College’s commitment to improving mental health services for those autistic adults who do not have a generalised intellectual disability.

It focuses on setting out the role of psychiatrists in meeting the needs of these patients. It also emphasises the importance of the need for a much broader approach, involving a range of services and professionals if outcomes are to be the best they can.

The Report takes a pragmatic approach, drawing on clinical expertise and opinion to inform its conclusions and is intended to complement other relevant guidance, in particular that produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Through the implementation of the guidance and recommendations in this Report, real progress can be made in ensuring that people with autism who also have a psychiatric disorder get the treatment that they need. Too many people currently in this situation are having all of their symptoms attributed to autism solely.

This document helps psychiatrists to recognise autism (distinguishing it from co-occurring disorder) and to treat their patients appropriately, making reasonable adjustments and avoiding discrimination. Together with other resources (such as clinical discussion and online packages), it will also help them to meet their statutory training requirements related to autism.

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