Is autism a mental illness?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not considered a mental illness. It is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder. While ASD can impact an individual’s behavior, communication, and social interactions, it is fundamentally a developmental condition that affects the functioning and development of the brain, rather than a mental illness.

Mental illnesses, on the other hand, are characterized by disturbances in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and are often associated with changes in mood or cognition. Common mental illnesses include conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

ASD is typically diagnosed in childhood and involves a range of symptoms and challenges related to social communication, repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities. While individuals with ASD may experience co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, these conditions are separate from ASD itself and are treated as distinct mental health issues.

It’s critical to distinguish between mental diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD because these conditions can have very different causes, diagnostic standards, and therapeutic modalities. Although ASD is not regarded as a mental illness, individuals with it may benefit from therapies and interventions created to meet their specific needs.

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