The economic benefits of ADIE treatment for autistic people with anxiety

Think tank: Pro Bono Economics

Author(s): Helen Hughson

March 28, 2024

This report from UK think tank Pro Bono Economics explores economic benefits of ADIE treatment for autistic people with anxiety.

A new treatment could be effective in helping autistic people recover from GAD. ‘Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience’ (ADIE) was recently trialled in a study funded by MQ Mental Health Research. The treatment takes a different approach to the management of anxiety. It helps people recognise the physiological signals of anxiety more accurately.

Since the original study, it has also been trialled on other populations and has been developed into a format which can be administered almost entirely without clinical oversight.

If this treatment were rolled out to autistic people who might be both experiencing and likely to seek treatment for anxiety, the improved quality of life they might experience could be valued at as much as £125-£170 million (1,700-2,300 QALYs). For each person recovering this is equivalent to between £21-£28,000 of wellbeing benefits. It is also worth noting that ADIE treatment is now being trialled on other groups of people, and that the potential costs of rolling out this intervention are not covered in this report.

Various sensitivity scenarios indicate that the benefits could cover a much wider range, but still suggest a significant overall impact. Better data, and thus more research, would help to narrow the range and better quantify the potential benefits of new treatments. Social sector organisations like MQ Mental Health Research could potentially facilitate further economic evaluations by both helping researchers to fill in some of these gaps in their own work, and by drawing attention to the paucity of data on mental health in autistic people more broadly.