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How Does Autism Affect Women’s Mental Health and What to Do About It?

Life can be difficult at times. But if we express and communicate our needs to the people around us, we can navigate our way. Expression and communication help us get through the challenges of life.

Now think of somebody who cannot do something as simple as that. How tough can that be for a person? That is often the life of an autistic person.

What Is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that restricts the ability to communicate socially. It is a chronic lifelong condition characterized by repetitive behavior and obsessive interests.

Autism is a spectrum disorder affecting individuals’ cognitive, social, emotional, and physical health. It varies in degree, and everyone may not show all the symptoms.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

It is often diagnosed during infancy or early childhood. At this stage, there are various signs you may observe:

  • don’t respond to their names
  • don’t make eye contact
  • difficulty following orders or directions
  • talking excessively about something they love
  • developing unusual speech patterns
  • might prefer to be alone
  • repetitive movements
  • repeating particular words or phrases
  • fixations on particular objects.

Autism In Women

You may have noticed that there are more autistic men than women. Does this mean that autism occurs more in men?

Autism occurs in both men and women. However, it is easier to notice the symptoms of autism in men. This is because women with autism tend to ‘camouflage’ their autistic traits.

Camouflaging is a technique that autistic women use to hide or mask their symptoms. Studies show that women and girls conceal behaviors that others might consider inappropriate or problematic. They do this to make and maintain friendships or find acceptance in the workplace, schools, and other institutions. For instance, they may:

  • force themselves to make eye contact
  • mimic others’ behavior
  • think of or remember points for future conversations

The conscious masking of their true feelings and behaviors affects them mentally and emotionally. This may be why autistic women tend to suffer from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety more than autistic men.

How To Deal With Mental Health In Autistic Women

If you are a woman or a girl with autism, and you are struggling to maintain your mental health, you have come to the right place. Although there is no cure for autism, studies have shown that there are options to help you cope with your mental health challenges.


Seeking help in therapy is the first thing that you should do. All the camouflaging can lead to lasting mental effects, including depression and anxiety.

Your doctor or psychiatrist may recommend talk therapy. Try to find someone who is an autism expert. Your doctor may also recommend medication if warranted.


Eating foods rich in macronutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and beneficial fats will improve brain function.

Eat as much chicken, beef, and salmon as possible. They contain omega-3, proteins, and vitamin D, which boosts serotonin and helps the brain manage depression. Vegetarians can try eating spinach, avocados, nuts, and whole grains.


Exercising not only helps the body to reduce your waistline but also boosts your mental health. Exercise helps you deal with depression and other mental health disorders by increasing oxygen levels in your brain.

Bottom Line

People with autism risk developing different mental health disorders throughout their lives. As women with autism tend to experience mental illness more than men, it can be more difficult for them. A recent study showed that more than half of autistic women surveyed experienced co-occurring depression (62%), stress (66%), anxiety (67%), and past or present thoughts of suicide (62%).

It may not be easy for you to stop camouflaging, but you can do other things to help you deal with it. You can try eating healthy foods to improve your mental health and exercise to reduce anxiety naturally. Also, consider talking to a doctor or therapist if your mental health symptoms get out of hand.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

Contact a Resource Specialist

About the Author: Alisha Jones is an online entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. She is on a mission to help digital businesses grow online. She shares her journey, insights, and experiences at  Tech Trends Pro, Tech Net Deals, & Follow The Fashion. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, this blog is for you.

Photo by Michael Afonso on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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2 thoughts on “How Does Autism Affect Women’s Mental Health and What to Do About It?

  1. Jac says:

    This article is scientifically incorrect and absolutely offensive in its information on female autism. The advice to “eat healthy foods and exercise” is of no help to anyone suffering and statements such as “Eat as much chicken, beef and salmon as possible” is additionally very poor nutrtional advice. Does this writer have any background or qualifications in this area at all? I’d say beyond incompetent, the article is dangerous.

  2. Danielle Leblanc says:

    Hi Jac,

    Thank you for reading and commenting on our blog post. You have made some interesting points. In the article the writer is acknowledging that there is no cure, however, there is evidence suggesting that having a healthy diet and exercising can help cope with the mental health challenges, as it help boosts serotonin and helps with brain functioning.


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