Anxiety in Intellectual Disabilities: Challenges and Next Steps
Anxiety symptoms and disorders are common in individuals with intellectual disability (ID). Beyond this general vulnerability, certain syndromes and disorders associated with ID confer increased risk for anxiety. Autism spectrum disorders and Williams syndrome are two such disorders. This review summarizes studies assessing the prevalence and phenomenology of anxiety in autism spectrum disorders and Williams syndrome, and discusses the current state of measurement and treatment in regards to anxiety in ID. Overall, studies suggest that individuals with autism spectrum disorders and those with Williams syndrome experience greater levels of anxiety relative to both typically developing controls and to individuals with ID of varying etiology, although this anxiety may manifest in different ways. Recent years have seen an influx of measures tailored to assessing anxiety in ID. Although treatment options remain limited, they are growing in number. Next steps for research investigating anxiety in ID are discussed, as are the advantages of phenotypic work in ID for understanding psychopathology in the general population. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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