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Old 04-15-2019, 01:47 AM
 
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I have a 29 year old autistic daughter that is high functioning enough to get a job, it can't be to complicated. She currently works at home dept. She did graduate HS but failed college.

What really bothers me though, is that she smokes and drinks a lot, as in she has become what you would call a functional alcolhic and smokes cigarettes like a freight train. She has her own one bedroom apartment, but she is always drinking and smoking. I get that this can happen to people that are not autistic, but do autistic people have a higher chance of this happening? Last year in October she stopped drinking and had horrible withdrawals and ended up going to the hospital and she stopped drinking for a few months (but still smoking) yet when I visit her apartment for the past few months I have caught her drinking again.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:39 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,525 posts, read 8,772,046 times
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I don't think autism has anything to do with this.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,387 posts, read 5,059,027 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgnliver View Post
I have a 29 year old autistic daughter that is high functioning enough to get a job, it can't be to complicated. She currently works at home dept. She did graduate HS but failed college.

What really bothers me though, is that she smokes and drinks a lot, as in she has become what you would call a functional alcolhic and smokes cigarettes like a freight train. She has her own one bedroom apartment, but she is always drinking and smoking. I get that this can happen to people that are not autistic, but do autistic people have a higher chance of this happening? Last year in October she stopped drinking and had horrible withdrawals and ended up going to the hospital and she stopped drinking for a few months (but still smoking) yet when I visit her apartment for the past few months I have caught her drinking again.
Hi OP,

I understand your concern. It is hard to watch a family member with unhealthy habits make poor choices which make their lives more difficult. This is especially true when they have a condition such as autism that makes it difficult for you to give them helpful advice that makes sense to them.

Many people with autism have routines and OCD-like behaviors. Is she on medication? The drinking might be her own self medicating to deal with anxiety or other co-morbid conditions related to her autism. She may find the that the smoking is soothing and relaxes her and in her mind if a little is relaxing a lot is more relaxing. I have an adult child with autism as well and I grew up in a family with a father and brother who most likely had it too. Both my father and brother drank too much and my father smoked heavily. Since neither were formally diagnosed they didn't receive any counseling or medication for their condition. Their behavior caused a lot of stress on the family and it was not understood at the time what was behind their problems as both my father and brother were highly intelligent and knowledgeable but often were very unkind to other people to the point that they were difficult to be around. Although the drinking may have helped them with internal anxiety (and sleep) it amplified their problems with others.

In my experience, the patterns of behavior you describe are not untypical of many people with autism. They often struggle with many issues, especially having "A friend," which adds to their social problems and isolation. Unfortunately despite extensive counseling, social supports, and medications the road has not been any easier for my adult child than my father or brother. We hope that a good job match, finding a positive friend, and just maturing (currently 23) will help.

If your daughter isn't receiving formal counseling it may be helpful for her to talk to someone to understand what may be behind her smoking and drinking.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:20 AM
 
4,248 posts, read 8,048,401 times
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On one hand, an autistic person can have very strong and narrow-defined singular interests (it could start from intense interests in trains, or dinosaurs, or transformers in childhood, then could be anything that plants into their brains at an opportune moments: cars, planes, programming...). It could be that your daughter had a misfortune to get an interest in drinking and smoking, but it does not mean that all autistic people have a predisposition for it.

On the other hand, autistic people revere "rules". Once a rule is absorbed, it is nearly impossible for an autistic person to break it. It comes from the inherent honesty (inability to lie). Either your daughter missed, in her formative years, the "rule" that "drinking and smoking are bad", or someone who she respects, re-defined those "rules" for her into the opposite ones.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:45 AM
 
Location: USA
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I know someone who is autistic and enjoys drinking. idk how much bc I never asked and not close friends with her. She used to smoke and quit years ago.

I do know one of her struggles is wanting to be married and have children. She’s around 40 now so the odds of that happening is slim. When it comes to men, the guys tends to run from her because she comes on too strong and talks crazy about stuff. I know this because I’ve had few guys who we both know tell me this.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this a factor in drinking to self-medicate.
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Old Today, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Crook County, Illinois
3,333 posts, read 1,483,659 times
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Autistic individuals tend to have a higher stress level in their lives, due to their troubles with socializing, sensory difficulties, panicking over disrupted routines, etc. As a result, they have a stronger "need" (notice the quotes) for self-soothing by chemical means. In other words, tobacco and alcohol, and in some states, marijuana as well. Why not meditation and such? Most autistics tend to be hardline pragmatics (although not exclusively autistics), and often don't benefit from meditation and other "metaphysical" relaxation techniques. Something grounded and physical, like running or weightlifting, may be more helpful.

My suggestion for the OP would be to persuade his/her daughter to see a psychiatrist (god forbid, not a counselor/therapist), to get an anti-anxiety prescription of some sort. While prescription drugs aren't a panacea, they gotta be a less unhealthy and more controlled method of self-soothing than Smirnoff and Camel.
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Old Today, 02:32 PM
 
Location: here
24,817 posts, read 29,692,699 times
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All I can think when I scroll by this is how cringe-worthy it is for you to use the term "autistics." She is a person with autism, or a person "on the spectrum," not "an autistic."
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Old Today, 03:14 PM
 
15,794 posts, read 17,563,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
All I can think when I scroll by this is how cringe-worthy it is for you to use the term "autistics." She is a person with autism, or a person "on the spectrum," not "an autistic."
Some people prefer to be called autistic. It depends on who you ask.

https://autisticadvocacy.org/about-a...irst-language/

Quote:
In the autism community, many self-advocates and their allies prefer terminology such as “Autistic,” “Autistic person,” or “Autistic individual” because we understand autism as an inherent part of an individual’s identity — the same way one refers to “Muslims,” “African-Americans,” “Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/*****,” “Chinese,” “gifted,” “athletic,” or “Jewish.” On the other hand, many parents of Autistic people and professionals who work with Autistic people prefer terminology such as “person with autism,” “people with autism,” or “individual with ASD” because they do not consider autism to be part of an individual’s identity and do not want their children to be identified or referred to as “Autistic.” They want “person-first language,” that puts “person” before any identifier such as “autism,” in order to emphasize the humanity of their children.
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Old Today, 07:57 PM
 
Location: here
24,817 posts, read 29,692,699 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Some people prefer to be called autistic. It depends on who you ask.

https://autisticadvocacy.org/about-a...irst-language/
Autistic is different than "an autistic."
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Old Today, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
41,699 posts, read 40,450,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
All I can think when I scroll by this is how cringe-worthy it is for you to use the term "autistics."
I agree.

Every time I see it in my feed it ticks me off.
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