Full article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/pii/S2589537021003229
Nothing about us without us
Who: Quadt & Colleagues
Title: Interoceptive training to target anxiety in autistic adults (ADIE): A single-center, superiority randomized controlled trial
Combatting Anxiety in Autistic Adults
53% of autistic adults meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, compared to 10-15% of the general population. However, autistic people don’t always find relief in medication or CBT the way neurotypical people can.
This study wanted to see if a new type of therapy, called Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience (ADIE), can help autistic adults to feel less anxious.
Many autistic people experience interoceptive stimuli quite intensely, and can attribute this to anxiety even when anxiety was not the cause. For example, on feeling your heartbeat increase due to excitement or even exercise, this can be interpreted as anxiety!
ADIE involves tasks which help you to understand and even anticipate your interoceptive feelings, like your heart rate, and how to respond to them.
In this study, 61 autistic adults engaged with ADIE, and 60 didn’t, so they could be compared to the people who did.
ADIE didn’t make the participants any more confident in their ability to detect interoceptive stimuli, but they did report the sensations as less intense and intrusive, and reported less anxiety!
ADIE might be able to help autistic adults predict and regulate their internal states, minimising the likelihood that they will attribute their feelings to anxiety.
It might also help people to regulate their feelings before they become overwhelmingly anxious.
ADIE isn’t reliant on the ability to identify emotions or the ability to speak verbally, so it might also be really accessible for people with alexithymia and those who don’t speak.