The University of Texas System

CPAN November Case of the Month

Each month, PCPs call the Child Psychiatry Access Network with a wide variety of mental health questions.

November 2022


10-year old patient with history of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Reason for CPAN consultation:

Questions about Anxiety + ASD comorbidity and treatment


The PCP called CPAN about a 10-year old male with longstanding history of autism spectrum disorder. Due to being on the spectrum, he has always had difficulty with transitions, rigidity, and deficits in communication.  More recently, he has experienced increased disruptive behaviors and irritability. 

Due to patient being minimally verbal, his symptoms are hard to assess.  During the consultation, the CPAN provider discussed the possibility of the patient experiencing increased levels of anxiety and highlighted that anxiety is the most common comorbid condition in patients with ASD. 

CPAN provided tips on how to potentially pick up on signs of increased anxiety in the patient.  In addition, the CPAN provider made recommendations for potentially starting patient on an SSRI to treat the elevated levels of anxiety.

Take home point:

It is always important to be thinking about comorbid diagnoses and how to manage them. By calling CPAN, you will have access to child psychiatrists who can help think through cases thoroughly and offer suggestions for treatment recommendations. 

The CPAN team is also available to provide resources.