When discussing the rising rate of depression in America, people with autism and learning challenges are often left out of the conversation. According to the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, nearly half of all adults with autism will experience clinical depression in their lifetime.

The Numbers Behind Depression in America

  • 16.2 million adults in the United States (6.7 percent of all adults in the country) have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Nearly 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  • It’s believed that 15 percent of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.
  • 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression in any given year.
  • The average age people begin feeling depressed is between 20 and 30 years old.
  • 8.5 percent of women have depression.
  • 4.8 percent of men have depression.

Depression Among People with Autism

Despite the fact that autism doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, class, or learning behaviors, people with autism tend to be at a higher risk for depression. Studies find this is because of two main factors.

Peer Socializing

It can be very difficult to feel as though you’re different from your peers. Not understanding certain social cues or finding it difficult to make friends can cause people with autism and other learning challenges to feel anxious or depressed.  


One of the main reasons why depression in people with autism goes undiagnosed is because it’s difficult to detect. A nonverbal person may not be able to adequately express their feelings, making it easy for a caregiver to never notice depressive symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Sleeping all day (despite having slept well the night before).
  • Sudden and drastic changes in your appetite or weight.
  • Feeling fatigued throughout the day.
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

Debra Solomon, founder of Spectrum Strategies has many services waiting for you. From time management and productivity workshops to individual coaching, she is an expert in her field. Debra is focused on training young adults on the Autism Spectrum to accomplish life and career goals, no matter how big or small. Call (516) 510-7637 for your one on one and let’s get you reaching for the stars!