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Substance Abuse in Adult Autistics

 Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD)

This is a companion article to my Podcast, Mind Your Autistic Brain

to hear this episode and interview with Jordan Camp, S1 E4, visit:

An excerpt from an article by the Delphi Mental Health Group:

According to the Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, one study showed that almost 7 percent of individuals in treatment for SUD had been diagnosed with ASD (as compared to 1 percent of the general population).

Researchers Elizabeth Kunreuther and Ann Palmer of the University of North Carolina have also studied the correlation between ASD and SUD. Their findings report that individuals diagnosed with autism are almost twice as likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.

They’ve written a book called Drinking, Drug Use, and Addiction in the Autism Community, which explores this relationship between autism and substance abuse further.” 

Read the complete article here:

Hi, I’m Jordan Camp and I am 29 years old.  I was identified as autistic at an early age, but didn’t know I was Autistic until I was 15.  I’ve struggled since my teen years with drugs and alcohol.  I started using them to self medicate in order to deal with the feelings of denial about who I am.  As an autistic person I struggle with acceptance, social interactions, and a host of sensory challenges and I began using drugs and alcohol to help me deal with these struggles.  It led to over 5 years of drug and alcohol use and abuse.  I ended up in January of 2019 hitting rock bottom, feeling numb and hopeless.  Over a w day period I sank deeper and deeper and was slowly ingesting enough drugs and alcohol to end my own life by choice.  I ended up in the hospital after my parents called emergency services to save me.  This began my road to a new life.  I want to share my story with you today because I know there are so many of us out there who have been where I have been.  I want you to know you are not alone and there is better.  You are important and you have a place in this world.  Below I have shared a few identifiers, tips and places to begin recovery from my own life and perspective that have gotten me where I am today, clean and sober and living my best autistic life.  

Identifiers from Jordan's experience of someone using and abusing drugs and alcohol:

  • Compulsive behaviors

  • Manipulation

  • Personality changes-feeling like a chameleon so you blend into the world

  • Co-dependency with people and drugs

  • Habitual Lying to yourself and others


Hotlines- This service also offers text chat vs. a phone call option.  Be sure to identify yourself as an adult autistic.  The counselors are trained to help us specifically as autistics because as you know we communicate differently and our stress shows in different ways.

Alcoholics Anonymous-

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Groups Resource Guide-

Celebrate Recovery- This is a Christian based resource.

***When seeking a treatment recovery program it is essential that you tell that you are autistic and seek a treatment program that supports your treatment with your neurodiverse brain in mind with programs tailored to you.  Many programs are now aware that as autistics we have special recovery needs and have programs in place so be sure to ask and to tell.****

Top 3 Tips to Help you Each Day:

  1. Self reflection- I have quiet time.  Go over all the scenarios that could have been why they were or were not what I wanted them to be.  This happened after I got a clear head and then the reflection and quiet began.  I took 2 hour increments of rest and reflection.  

           As this evolved over time it's become part of my day.  This is where I     

           found calm and serenity.  I began to think faster and make decisions 

           from a place of clarity. 

  1. Deep breathing techniques-  Finding quiet space to allow the quiet to enter.  You can try a few from this site:

  1. Hobbies- Replace your old habits with a new and beneficial habit.  I began by focusing on what I could put in my body that was healthy and nourishing vs. my old habit of drugs and alcohol.  I no longer believed that my body was to be punished.  Drugs were only temporary and leave you with more of a void than when you began.  So I began gardening.  It gives me a way to nourish my body but my mind as well.

Things to be mindful of as you begin your recovery:

  • Admitting that you have a problem.

  • Set up your environment and structure places that support your recovery.

  • Be patient with yourself and those who are helping you.  

  • Give back to others in your community

  • Define short and long term goals

  • Make a new friend

  • One day at a time will get you through.

  • Keep a routine and set schedule

  • Take your time and allow the transition to grow.

I am here to help and would love to get to know you.  I am in the process of setting up a page where I will be sharing what I have learned and what I am learning along my recovery journey as an adult autistic.  I will also be sharing resources and encouragement to help you as you begin your recovery journey too.  We all start somewhere and it is always messy and never pretty and that’s ok.  

Contact Jordan at:

Contact Social Autie:

@SocialAutie on Instagram


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