Whats the difference between social anxiety and aspergers?

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princesseli
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20 Nov 2010, 5:15 am

In general: the difference is people with social anxiety can communicate and read social cues completely fine but they are just constantly terrified and self-conscience of themselves that they might do something wrong. Verses people with aspergers arent aware of themselves and cant read social cues and often times are just strange. There not necessarily terrified of socializing. In both cases people are likely to have smaller social circle then completely normal people. I am person with both Aspergers and Social Anxiety so things are rather difficult, I often feel like I have both ends of the sword when it comes to inabilities to socialize. Ive talked to people with Aspergers, sometimes there are certain difficulties I still experience that they dont due to my anxiety problems.



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20 Nov 2010, 5:37 am

I had severe social anxiety before. I got chest pains, mind-freeze (when you want to speak but don't know what to say which is accompanied by rushing thoughts) and anxiety about having more social encounters.
Then when all that passed and I still didn't know what to say, but it was replaced by confusion and not anxiety I looked into Asperger's.

I still have some social anxiety but not in conversations. I just get really bored and then start staring into space or at the table. I get anxiety if I'm under stress and people happen to be looking at me. Usually it's at a train station. But I think most of it is sensory. I have a lot of sensory anxiety and little things that stress me out can lead to some social anxiety.

Also, someone mentioned intrusive thoughts. I always thought this was a part of OCD?


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Joe90
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20 Nov 2010, 10:14 am

Quote:
In general: the difference is people with social anxiety can communicate and read social cues completely fine but they are just constantly terrified and self-conscience of themselves that they might do something wrong

This matches me completely. It's not that I can't socialize - I am just terrfied of doing something wrong or saying something wrong, and end up being judged by other people. Plus I am generally shy, which makes it worse.

But the Aspie side of me in the special interests, sensitive hearing, mood swings, and routine obsessions.


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Kon
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20 Nov 2010, 11:57 am

I can socialize also but I often don't enjoy it unless the person is talking about stuff that I'm obsessed about. I definitely have serious work-related performance anxiety (SAD) though. The thing is, I go crazy if my wife interferes with my concentration when I'm doing something that really interests me. At that moment the whole human population might as well be extinct. It feels like it wouldn't bother me. I went to a wedding last week. I was a bit anxious especially shaking hands and kissing people but when I was there I was constantly thinking about the stuff that interests me: mental illness and psychopharmacology. I spoke to one person beside me and when he didn't show interest, he might as well not have existed for me. I mean I don't want anything bad to happen but what's the point in talking with him? Is that Asperger's or normal? Basically I hate chit-chat unless the chit-chat is about something I like and then I can usually talk about it for hours, until I get bored or there's no progress. Does this make sense? I also find that my SAD is much better if I'm really interested in something and/or I'm very knowledgeable about it. I think that's just normal behaviour?



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20 Nov 2010, 2:06 pm

pensieve wrote:
Also, someone mentioned intrusive thoughts. I always thought this was a part of OCD?


Intrusive thoughts can be a symptoms of either anxiety disorders, esp. PTSD, or OCD.



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20 Nov 2010, 2:25 pm

The difference btween AS and SA is considerable.

AS is an autism spectrum disorder, which means it's a pervasive developmental disorder. And that means, you're born with it and you'll never grow out of it. You can't cure AS. You simply have to learn the skills to live with it. First observable symptoms will unsually manifest around 3 or 4 years of age, even though the indivudal will have had AS since birth.

Social anxiety occurs in different forms. Developmental social anxiety, like excessive shyness, occurs at a young age and normally a person grow out of it. Chronic forms of social anxiety normally will not manifest until puberty or young adulthood. It's more common is younger people but can stike at any time in adulthood. This type of SA would often be classfiied as an anxiety disorder--a disorder in how your brain responds to the stress of living in a social group. Unlike AS, it is possible in some cases to overcome SA through meds and therapy, to allow the brain to "right" itself in how it responds to social stress.

With AS, the individual isn't necessarily anxious about socializing. There are genuine social deficits that can increase the stress the indivudal feels when they are ins ocial situations--like not being able to recognize non-verbal communication or having trouble with social norms. In turn, that can lead to developing social anxiety. But someone with AS does not necessarily have social anxiety, but will always have social deficits.

People with SA are the opposite--they do not necessaily have social deficits They can be either NTs or on the spectrum. But they will have social anxiety, as the result of their brain not coping well with social stress. It's like depression--you may have a genetic predispostion to it, or you may not. But you don't have to be autsitic to develop either depression or social anxiety.



Joe90
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20 Nov 2010, 4:31 pm

I'm never oblivious of what other people are thinking of me though. I'm constantly worrying about who is thinking what of me, all the time. Is that social anxiety?


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Kon
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20 Nov 2010, 5:05 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I'm never oblivious of what other people are thinking of me though. I'm constantly worrying about who is thinking what of me, all the time. Is that social anxiety?


Almost all people are a bit like this I think? The difference is one of degree. I think it's the same with SAD and even ASD.

1. With SAD, I'm worried that I will mess up something and look real dumb. With ASD, I'm worried that I will mess up something and get yelled at.

2. With SAD, I can be good at something but I can't do it because my heart rate is very high, I'm shaking/trembling and feel like running away. With ASD I feel, I can be good at something but I can't sometimes because if it's beyond my little scope of interest, I have zero desire in it and if it is within my scope of interest, I spend way too much time on it and can't be productive, in the real world. At work, I can talk about something to someone for hours and forget my normal duties. It's kinda lice OCD, I think? If I'm doing one task, say filling a blister pac and a customer interupts me, I feel like killing them, because it breaks my concentration. I can't multi-task.

3. With SAD I want to avoid social situations because I'm scared I will make mistakes and say something dumb. With ASD I want to avoid social situations because I find it too boring, uninteresting or too overwhelming. I think?

4. When my SAD is really bad I get panic attacks. When my ASD is really bad, I have childish temper tantrums, feel totally overwhelmed and want to be left alone. I constantly am making lists in my head of what I need to do to get past each day, so I can to the point where I can do that thing I enjoy. If the list get too big, I go ballistic. I'm not sure if this is just plain laziness or ASD?



IvyMike
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20 Nov 2010, 8:21 pm

SA people don't enjoy stimming, also the technical interests in areas. I don't think the two are alike.



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20 Nov 2010, 9:21 pm

Corp900 wrote:
whats the difference?


I am scared to talk to people, smile, look in the eye,

Does that make me AS or SA?


Well first of all being scared to talk to people, smile, or look in the eye is definitely not enough for a AS diagnosis. Also you can have both, if you have social skills issues it can lead to social anxiety as well (not necessarily tho).

Shadi


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21 Nov 2010, 5:51 am

Joe90 wrote:
I'm never oblivious of what other people are thinking of me though. I'm constantly worrying about who is thinking what of me, all the time. Is that social anxiety?

Just remember what you think people are thinking of you may not necessarily be true. Does it really matter what strangers are thinking of you if you never see them again?


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Daedelus1138
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21 Nov 2010, 6:17 am

Kon wrote:
Performance anxiety (SAD) is my number one problem but I might have a bit of both. I suspect ASD because of my:

1. Sensory Issues
2. Narrow, obsessive interests
3. Major discrepancy between academic success and real-world failure


That's Asperger's. I used to also exhibit SAD/Avoidant behavior alot, but eventually alot of social anxiety went away. I think it was secondary to being on the Autism spectrum, i suspect that's the case for most people. I was just savvy enough to realize how ackward I was, and that probably caused the avoidant behavior.

The good news about social stuff, you can learn some of it analytically, if it doesn't come intuitively. Maybe never be the greatest but you can work on some of it so you have a modicum of civility. the thing that seems to cause regression for me is prolonged stress and worsening of depression, otherwise if you keep mentally balanced, the worst part of Asperger's should improve with age.



Joe90
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21 Nov 2010, 10:04 am

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SA people don't enjoy stimming, also the technical interests in areas. I don't think the two are alike.


I never stim - that is one AS symptom I never had. Sometimes in public I rub the side of my finger on the nail of my thumb, but I've seen NTs do similiar things with one of their hands - they never keep their fingers still and straight like soldiers. So I wouldn't call that stimming.


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Joe90
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08 Dec 2010, 12:17 pm

But I am so confused. When I am in a group of more than 2 other people, and they are all talking as a conversation, I always feel afraid to join in, so I just sit and listen quietly, and I'll laugh at appropriate times, and otherwise just make eye contact with them, just to show that I'm not trailing off into my own world. I always make body language that I'm listening and relaxed. And I know what to do if I did join in, but I'm always ''afraid'' to say anything, unless somebody asked me something.
But say if they were talking about how hot the weather might be getting this summer (this is just a random example of a simple conversation), and I knew I had something relevant to say in this conversation, I'll still be scared to say it. I always keep thinking that if I said something, no-one will listen to me, or I'll be interrupted. I just don't like the thought of the sound of my voice suddenly piping up, and everybody turns to me at the same time to listen to what I got to say. I find that intimidating. It's not so much the eye contact - it's the way everybody in the room turns their heads at the same time to face me.

(All this doesn't apply to my family - I feel more comfortable in taking part in a normal conversation when I am with my family).

But anyway, here's the strange part. I know all the social cues - I'm absolutely brilliant at knowing them. They are all stored in my brain, and if I wanted to use them, they are there. If I was to write a book about all the social cues, I would be able to, and it'd be exactly right (well, there is no right or wrong in this, but it'd still look like it wasn't written by somebody on the Autistic spectrum). But the trouble is, something stops me from actually expressing them. When I'm in an interesting conversation, I find loads to say, and a little voice in my head says, ''go on, here's your chance - say so-and-so!'' And I go to, then I suddenly feel afraid, and emotionally back away, and before long I've realised I was silent throughout the whole conversation even though I was listening very carefully and non-verbally joining in. Or I've got to pluck up lots and lots of courage just to ask somebody something (if I don't know them very well). I know how to ask them, but it's just actually doing it what's the tricky part. Social cues come natural to me like it does for normal NTs, but I'm forever plucking up courage to actually speak them out, without being nervous or frightened of the answer I will get, or if I will get interrupted, or if I will be accidentally ignored. (People don't deliberately ignore me, they just might be focusing on something else, or about to talk to somebody else at the exact time I speak, then I feel an idiot - even though they won't think I'm an idiot).

Does all this sound like social phobia, or is this what all Aspies are typically like? I don't get it. What if I don't have AS? What if I find it hard to socialise in a different way to every Aspie person? What if I have a disability what hasn't been discovered yet?


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Last edited by Joe90 on 08 Dec 2010, 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KissOfMarmaladeSky
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08 Dec 2010, 1:08 pm

I can't tell if I'm AS or SA, sometimes. I'm often afraid of social interaction, and other times, it just bores me so much that I would like to be alone and read.



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08 Dec 2010, 1:25 pm

IvyMike wrote:
SA people don't enjoy stimming, also the technical interests in areas. I don't think the two are alike.


I have an embarassing stimming. I poke and twirl my penis. I used to be called "pockets". My hands were constantly down there. I learned to curb it down in front of people. It helps me relax. I still do it but I'm better.