Clinicians’ experience of the complexity of assessing and treating psychosis in the context of co-morbid autism spectrum disorders in young people

Poster A3, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Melanie Cooke1, Johanna Rouse1; 1Orygen Youth Health

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) involves difficulties in social interaction, communication, repetitive behaviours, restricted interests, and sensory preferences. Assessment and treatment of psychotic illness in the context of co-morbid ASD is complex due to similarities in symptom presentation and cognitive difficulties. This has important implications for diagnosis, misdiagnosis, prognosis and treatment planning. The current study investigated mental health clinicians' perspectives on the experience of assessing and treating psychosis in young people with ASD. The treatment setting, Orygen Youth Health, is a public mental health service providing psychiatric care for young people between the ages of 15 and 25 who live in the northwestern region of Melbourne, Australia. Clinicians involved in the assessment and treatment of psychotic symptoms and ASDs participated in a semi-structured interview that explored the following three themes: 1) the challenges of assessment and treatment; 2) factors impacting choice of intervention; and 3) the perceived efficacy of treatment in terms of symptoms and functional recovery. Qualitative interview data was explored using content analysis. The implications of the findings for supporting clinicians in the assessment and treatment of co-morbid psychosis and ASD in a youth mental health setting will be discussed.

Topic Area: Comorbid Conditions

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