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ISSN: 2165-7890

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Research Article

Misdiagnosis of High Function Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults: An Italian Case Series

Candida Claudia Luciano1*, Roberto Keller2, Pierluigi Politi3, Eugenio Aguglia4, Francesca Magnano4, Lorenzo Burti5, Francesca Muraro5, Angela Aresi2, Stefano Damiani3 and Domenico Berardi1

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences (DIMEC), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

2Clinic of Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Adulthood ASL To 2, Turin, Italy

3Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

4Department of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele” U.O.P.I. Psychiatry, University of Catania, Catania, Italy

5Department of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

*Corresponding Author:
Candida Claudia Luciano
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences
v.lePepoli 5, 40100 Bologna, Italy
Tel: +39 051-3143034
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: April 24, 2014; Accepted date: June 03, 2014; Published date: June 09, 2014

Citation: Luciano CC, Keller R, Politi P, Aguglia E, Magnano F, et al. (2014) Misdiagnosis of High Function Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults: An Italian Case Series. Autism 4:131 doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000131

Copyright: © 2014 Luciano CC, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


High Function (HF) Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in adulthood is highly prevalent but insufficiently recognized. In Italy, in particular, awareness of this condition is still insufficient and many psychiatrists have no cases of HF ASD to mention. Adult patients with HF ASD come to the attention of Mental Health Services complaining of difficulties within their social context and interpersonal relationships.

Objectives: Describe emblematic clinical examples of misdiagnosed HF ASD to understand reasons that conducted to misdiagnosis.

Procedure: We contact five specialized Italian Center in diagnosis of ASD. Each center have to describe two or three emblematic cases of adult patient with diagnosis of ASD validated by ADOS-4 but referred to clinicians with another diagnosis, discussing about possible reasons of misdiagnosis.

Sample and Results: We have collected 12 case reports (2 from Bologna center, 3 from Torino center, 3 from Pavia center, 2 from Verona center and 2 from Catania center) of adult HF ASD previously misdiagnosed. These cases shows important similarity across centers and highlight that if are taken into account only problems or symptoms that conduct patients to ask help, cases can easily suggest other psychiatric or personality disorders. Diagnosis becomes clear only after considering all the clinical features and a detailed developmental history.

Conclusion: Psychiatrists who have insufficient experience of ASD may overlook some symptoms of the overall clinical picture and misdiagnose ASD as personality disorders, schizophrenia, phobia or even as a non-psychiatric condition, so is hopeful for future increased knowledge about HF ASD in adulthood.


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