Q. Can antidepressants help a patient with autism spectrum disorder?

Answered by
Dr. Vandana Patidar
and medically reviewed by Dr.Lekshmipriya B
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 05, 2022

Hello doctor,

I want to contact you to inquire about anti-depressive treatment in persons affected by autism spectrum syndrome (ASS), for instance, Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism in adults.

Is there any antidepressant effective for ASS, especially molecules like Tranylcypromine Parnate (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) category?

What about other types of antidepressants?

What happens to ASS-affected persons who would be given drugs like SSRI or Parnate molecules? What are the adverse effects?

What is the general evidence-based advice for treating depressions, burnouts, and meltdowns occurring in ASS patients?

Kindly help with this.



Welcome to

Antidepressants usually do not seem to affect core symptoms of autistic spectrum disorder. I did not see any clinical patient with autistic spectrum disorder with Tranylcypromine. We do not usually suggest an antidepressant medicine to an autistic spectrum patient in our routine practice.

Guidelines say that the effect is insignificant because the drug is an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor). It has some effects which are not there with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which are a safer alternative.

Please take care of cheese reaction and serotonin syndrome. I am sure your psychiatrist must have discussed them. If the drug is already given to the patient, you can see the effect within a few weeks.

I hope I have answered your questions.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for your suggestion.

I want to ask you that I took tablet Cipramil (Celexa) SSRI category antidepressant, then we found that the curing effect has not been significant, the depression remained rather severe.

Furthermore, I suffer from a chronic and resistant form of a depressive disorder. Now I am taking Parnate and unfortunately, accompanied by many side effects that affect the quality of life in a significant way. Currently, I am experiencing cognitive memory issues, fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite, loss of libido and ER, loss of routines, and self-care behavior.

May I contact you to discuss the suspicion of an underlying ASS or high functioning autism syndrome?

My primary query is to know what would help stabilize the depression, burnout, and meltdown symptoms?

Should I try drugs (if so, which one) or psychotherapy programs to get better?



Welcome back to

It would be best if you continued with your medicines to get better. You can revert for any further help.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for your time and input.

I want to know about autism and the effect of antidepressant medication on improving or deterioration of the mental state. Can the syndrome be better manageable without anti-depressive medicines?

Kindly share your suggestions.



Welcome back to

The guidelines suggest that antidepressant medicines usually do not work very well in symptoms of autistic spectrum disorder. But yes, there is no harm in trying because every individual is different, so your body may respond to the drug differently. You can give a fair trial to the medicine because technically, the antidepressant should improve the depression of all the patients irrespective of their primary diagnosis. Apart from medical treatment, various therapies, self-help groups, music therapy, aromatherapy, and social work may help you deal with burnout.

I hope my answers prove helpful to solve your issues.

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