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  • Asperger's Syndrome in Adults
  • Working To Come To Terms with Asperger's
  • Sex and Depression - The Real Story
  • The Loss of Joy: Anhedonia
  • All About Schizophrenia
  • Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1

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The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.

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One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.

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Sadness

Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.

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Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.

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Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:

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1. Shame

People growing up with a learning disability often feel a sense of shame. For some, it is a great relief to receive the diagnosis while for others the label only serves to further stigmatize them. For many adults, especially older adults, an accurate diagnosis was unavailable. These individuals were frequently labeled as mentally retarded, written off as being unable to learn, and most passed through the school system without acquiring basic academic skills.

Sadly, these feelings of shame often cause the individual to hide their difficulties. Rather than risk being labeled as stupid or accused of being lazy some adults deny their learning disability as a defense mechanism. Internalized negative labels of stupidity and incompetence usually result in a poor self concept and lack of confidence (Gerber, Ginsberg, & Reiff, 1992)

Some adults feel ashamed of the type of difficulties they are struggling to cope with such as basic literacy skills, slow processing, attention difficulties, chronic forgetfulness, organizational difficulties, etc.

The following myths about learning disabilities have perpetuated the general public's negative perception about learning disabilities:

Myth #1

People with learning disabilities have below average intelligence and cannot learn.

Fact

People with learning disabilities have average to above average intelligence (Gerber. 1998). In fact, studies indicate that as many as 33% of students with LD are gifted (Baum, 1985; Brody & Mills, 1997; Jones, 1986). With proper recognition, intervention and lots of hard work, children and adults with learning disabilities can learn and succeed!

Myth #2

Learning disabilities are just an excuse for irresponsible, unmotivated or lazy people.

Fact

Learning disabilities are caused by neurological impairments not character flaws. In fact, the National Information Centre for Adults and Youth with Disabilities makes a point of saying that that people with learning disabilities are not lazy or unmotivated (NICHCY , 2002).

Myth #3

Learning disabilities only affect children. Adults grow out of learning disabilities.

Fact

It is now known that LD continues throughout the individual's lifespan and "may even intensify in adulthood as tasks and environmental demands change" (Michaels, 1994a). Sadly, many adults, especially older adults, have never been formally diagnosed with a learning disability. In fact, the majority of people with learning disabilities are not diagnosed until they reach adulthood (LDA, 1996)

Myth #4

Dyslexia and learning disability are the same thing.

Fact

Dyslexia is type of learning disability. It is not a another term for learning disability. It is a specific language based disorder affecting a person's ability to read, write and verbally express themselves.

Unfortunately, careless use of the term has expanded it so that it has become, for some, an equivalent for "learning disability".

Myth #5

Learning disabilities are only academic in nature. They do not affect other areas of a person's life.

Fact

Some people with learning disabilities have isolated difficulties in reading, writing or mathematics. However, most people with learning disabilities have more than one area of difficulty. Dr. Larry Silver asserts that "learning disabilities are life disabilities". He writes, "The same disabilities that interfere with reading, writing, and arithmetic also will interfere with sports and other activities, family life, and getting along with friends." (Silver, 1998)

Typically, students with LD have other major difficulties in one or more of the following areas:

  • motor coordination
  • time management
  • attention
  • organizational skills
  • processing speed
  • Social skills needed to make friends and maintaining relationships
  • emotional maturation
  • verbal expression
  • memory

Many adults with learning disabilities have difficulty in performing basic everyday living tasks such as shopping, budgeting, filling out a job application form or reading a recipe. They may also have difficulty with making friends and maintaining relationships. Vocational and job demands create additional challenges for young people with learning disabilities.

Myth #6

Adults with learning disabilities cannot succeed in higher education.

Fact

More and more adults with learning disabilities are going to college or university and succeeding (Gerber and Reiff 1994). With the proper accommodations and support, adults with learning disabilities can be successful at higher education.

Parent Category: Disorders
Category: Learning Disorders

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