Understanding Common Causes of Anger in Individuals with Autism

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People with autism often like predictable structures and schedules. Therefore, they tend to have an ‘on-off’ quality, where the individual may …

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People with autism often like predictable structures and schedules. Therefore, they tend to have an ‘on-off’ quality, where the individual may be calm one second and frustrated the next when changes in their plans or environment occur. Family members and significant others may grow resentful over time due to misunderstanding this behavior. Conflict within the home can be handled properly by helping the affected individual and immediate family members understand the causes of this anger. These difficulties can also be true for those living with high functioning autism and anger. According to autism-help.org, these are six common causes of anger in those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

  1. Being Swamped by Multiple Tasks or Sensory Stimulation

Multitasking has become more common in today’s on-the-move society. People expect others to be able to do more than one task at a time. But what may seem minimal to some can be extremely stressful to those with autism.

  1. Other People’s Behavior

An autistic individual may take great offense to insensitive or sarcastic comments that most may judge as light humor. Being ignored, whether on purpose or by accident, is a prevalent trigger as well.

  1. Having Routine and Order Disrupted

Many subconsciously cope with stress by following strict daily regimes. Disrupting a routine means disrupting a coping mechanism. For those struggling with high functioning autism and anger, the organization of their room can be very important to their routine. Simply moving something around in their area could cause a huge disruption to their comfort zone.

  1. Difficulties with Employment and Relationships (Despite Being Intelligent in Many Areas)

Many autistic individuals report feeling like their talents and capabilities are often overlooked and unappreciated. Employers may not sympathize with their needs. People who are uninformed about their condition might dismiss their attempts at friendship or communication.

  1. Intolerance of Imperfections in Others

Both physically and mentally, a person with autism may have stressors indirectly caused by other people. Certain facial features, vocal characteristics, or sudden movements can trigger someone with autism. Allowing them to express these pet peeves may result in further understanding of their anger-related behavior.

  1. Stress Build Up

Everything previously listed can potentially add up to this one. Individuals who have not taken steps towards managing anger can have a hard time dealing with built-up stress. Many autistic individuals must be taught how to process their stress and emotions.

While understanding is key, it is only the first step. The next step is to use this knowledge to change your approach towards ASD anger management. What’s the underlying issue behind their anger? And how can you prevent an outburst from occurring in the first place? Individuals who live and work around someone with this disorder need to take steps to be empathetic and consistent in their behavior. This will lead to a better environment for everyone involved.

For certain cases, treatment may be the best option. Pasadena Villa specializes in helping those with autism gain independence and work on the skills required to live a healthy life within society. The Villa Orlando and  Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. Likewise, The Stables Autism Program facility in the Smoky Mountains offers autism care for adults 18 and older who are looking to gain more independence. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs, and life skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient locations offer partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP).

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