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Autism as a Disorder of Altered Global Functional and Structural Connectivity

  • Ludger Tebartz van Elst
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Ludger Tebartz van Elst, M.D., Section for Neuropsychiatry and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research Group, University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hauptstr. 5, Freiburg D-79104, Germany.
    Affiliations
    Section for Neuropsychiatry and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research Group, University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freiburg, Germany
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  • Andreas Riedel
    Affiliations
    Section for Neuropsychiatry and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research Group, University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freiburg, Germany
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  • Simon Maier
    Affiliations
    Section for Neuropsychiatry and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research Group, University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freiburg, Germany
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      For a long time, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) played only a minor role in clinical adult psychiatry and psychotherapy. This situation recently changed, particularly when high functioning variants of ASD were recognized as an underlying basic disorder or personality structure on which secondary forms of psychiatric reactions, such as in depression, anxiety, or personality disorders, arise (
      • Tebartz van Elst L.
      • Pick M.
      • Biscaldi M.
      • Fangmeier T.
      • Riedel A.
      High-functioning autism spectrum disorder as a basic disorder in adult psychiatry and psychotherapy: Psychopathological presentation, clinical relevance and therapeutic concepts.
      ). From a clinical perspective, it is important to recognize the autistic pattern for a more comprehensive understanding of the psychodynamics of the psychopathology. For example, a secondary conflict-induced depressive syndrome can be explained by the conflict-inducing rigidity, stereotypies, or interpersonal communication difficulties of the patient as a sequela to the autistic structure (
      • Tebartz van Elst L.
      • Pick M.
      • Biscaldi M.
      • Fangmeier T.
      • Riedel A.
      High-functioning autism spectrum disorder as a basic disorder in adult psychiatry and psychotherapy: Psychopathological presentation, clinical relevance and therapeutic concepts.
      ).
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