Whats the difference between social anxiety and aspergers?

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naturalplastic
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08 Dec 2010, 9:51 pm

Thats kinda like asking "am I an American, or am I a golfer?"

They are kinda unlike categories, and on top of that they are not mutually exclusive.

SA is a more narrow condition of have anxiety about being around people.

Aspergers is more complicated condition having to do with being impaired in social skills and picking up on social cues and much else.

One could have both conditions. Though I would bet that most folks with SA are NT.



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15 Feb 2011, 12:10 am

Mercurial wrote:
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.


You sure seem to be an expert in aspies. Though I have aspie, but I also avoid people that seem very distant from me. I mean if they looked too proud, high class, and not interested in me, I avoid them. Maybe I'm too scared to try. I feel uncomfortable. I don't feel comfortable with my in-laws. First is because they are also not close to my wife. Second, though I did say to myself I should try, but I do not know what to say or talk about. During festivals every year, I go to their house with my wife, but I just sit there like a dumb bell! When they ask me something, I just answer, not really making a conversation which I should. I actually hated myself for it. I'm sure to them, it looks like I just don't like talking to them. Reality is, I wish I know how. My wife passed away about 3 years ago, but her family never know I have asperger. I wish I know how, but I never meet her family anymore after her death. Neither did they call or visit me. But at least I do send them sms during the festival seasons.



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15 Feb 2011, 12:44 am

Joe90 wrote:
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?


Maybe you are just having the social anxiety, and not the autism/asperger at all, since you have no problem with the social cues. I think you should see the autism psychiatrist who diagnosed you again to find it.



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15 May 2011, 2:11 pm

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Maybe you are just having the social anxiety, and not the autism/asperger at all, since you have no problem with the social cues. I think you should see the autism psychiatrist who diagnosed you again to find it.


See - this is the problem. People think that Autism and AS is so specific that if you don't behave in this certain way then you don't have AS. No - that is not always true. I do have AS - I got diagnosed at 8, I've been in denial about it ever since, right up until I was about 19, which was when I was beginning to accept it. There is a social deficit I have, but it's so hard to pinpoint the actual difference, although it is there. I don't have any trouble reading non-verbal cues, and I find small talk natural, and not sure about eye contact - I've been told I make normal eye contact, but when I think too much about where to put my eyes while someone is speaking to me, I seem to go all over the place.
The only social parts I find really difficult is asking questions, and joining in group conversations, because I can't seem to learn or know the differences between curiosity and being nosy or ''butting in''. I've been told that I ''look over people's shoulders'' a lot, which apparently means I butt my way into conversations what I'm not supposed to. Even though I've seen (and had) NTs do this all the time, people just seem to be against me on this one.
Anyway - let's get to the point. I seem a typical Aspie in other ways. I'm hypersensitive to loud noise, worry about everything, find it hard to cope with change, struggle to find employment, I have outbursts (usually triggered off by anger), mood swings, obsessions which has got me stalking people before, very poor motivation skills (difficulties with responsibilities), never go clubbing, and (not sure if this is Aspie-related or not) jealousy of NTs. I think there is some AS going on there. And it does affect the social part, but not intensely. Maybe it's because I'm a female been brought up by NT parents and sibling, NT cousins, NT aunts and uncles, and so on, and I went to mainstream school throughout my whole school life, so maybe I picked up the general social cues from them, I don't know.
I am not NT, although I bloody wish I was!! !


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15 May 2011, 4:50 pm

Joe90 wrote:
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I am not NT, although I bloody wish I was!! !


Is that a typical Aspie feeling?



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15 May 2011, 9:43 pm

There are so many differences between Aspergers and Social Anxiety. It is like comparing apples and oranges. Or something even more distantly related because the two are not similar. People can have both, but most people with social anxiety are not autistic. Likewise, there are a lot of autistic people who do not have social anxiety. People with autism are characterized by social limitations among other things. This does not automatically make the autistic person anxious. Being anxious is not a characteristic of autism. If an autistic person is anxious enough, then the person has both asd and some form of anxiety. I would say if you are SCARED to talk to people, SCARED to smile at people, and SCARED to make eye contact, that sounds like anxiety, not asd. People with asd and no anxiety are not scared to do these things, we just sometimes don't.



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15 May 2011, 9:49 pm

Joe90 wrote:
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Maybe you are just having the social anxiety, and not the autism/asperger at all, since you have no problem with the social cues. I think you should see the autism psychiatrist who diagnosed you again to find it.


See - this is the problem. People think that Autism and AS is so specific that if you don't behave in this certain way then you don't have AS. No - that is not always true. I do have AS - I got diagnosed at 8, I've been in denial about it ever since, right up until I was about 19, which was when I was beginning to accept it. There is a social deficit I have, but it's so hard to pinpoint the actual difference, although it is there. I don't have any trouble reading non-verbal cues, and I find small talk natural, and not sure about eye contact - I've been told I make normal eye contact, but when I think too much about where to put my eyes while someone is speaking to me, I seem to go all over the place.
The only social parts I find really difficult is asking questions, and joining in group conversations, because I can't seem to learn or know the differences between curiosity and being nosy or ''butting in''. I've been told that I ''look over people's shoulders'' a lot, which apparently means I butt my way into conversations what I'm not supposed to. Even though I've seen (and had) NTs do this all the time, people just seem to be against me on this one.
Anyway - let's get to the point. I seem a typical Aspie in other ways. I'm hypersensitive to loud noise, worry about everything, find it hard to cope with change, struggle to find employment, I have outbursts (usually triggered off by anger), mood swings, obsessions which has got me stalking people before, very poor motivation skills (difficulties with responsibilities), never go clubbing, and (not sure if this is Aspie-related or not) jealousy of NTs. I think there is some AS going on there. And it does affect the social part, but not intensely. Maybe it's because I'm a female been brought up by NT parents and sibling, NT cousins, NT aunts and uncles, and so on, and I went to mainstream school throughout my whole school life, so maybe I picked up the general social cues from them, I don't know.
I am not NT, although I bloody wish I was!! !


Autistic people can learn social cues, but I don't know if any actually become "brilliant" in employing them. You are lucky if you are ASD, female, and able to learn social cues so easily. I am also female with ASD, raised by non-autistic parents, with non-autistic siblings, in a mainstream school, and I still have no clue how to behave in public and how to socially interact with other people. :(



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16 May 2011, 12:05 pm

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Autistic people can learn social cues, but I don't know if any actually become "brilliant" in employing them. You are lucky if you are ASD, female, and able to learn social cues so easily. I am also female with ASD, raised by non-autistic parents, with non-autistic siblings, in a mainstream school, and I still have no clue how to behave in public and how to socially interact with other people.


I do make a lot of social mistakes though, but I know what they are immediately afterwards. Like I said earlier, I do have some problems with socialising. But normally I'm anxious in social situations, because I'm scared to do something wrong, or I'm scared to join in in case people might look at me and think, ''I wasn't talking to you!'' or something like that.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't have mild AS though, because I seem to have all the other symptoms what come out strongly, (as mentioned in the short list in one of my above posts). But we're all different. I struggle in other ways in social interaction. I wouldn't be seen dead working in a bar or pub.


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16 May 2011, 2:39 pm

I figured I'd reply to this thread instead of making a new one, but since we are on the topic of social cues, would it be considered an AS trait if you know what tone of voice the other person is using but unable to respond correctly to it?
Like, if someone was to get angry at me yet I am unable to say the right thing or if someone was to get excited yet I don't know what "feeling" I'm supposed to have.

I guess two good examples is when I was an assistant manager at a local restaurant. Some people would get upset about things but I didn't know how to apologize correctly. I would normally just remedy whatever happened and that would be it.
Another example is when I went to the bank the other day and applied for a loan. I was approved of it and the person that was helping me with the loan got excited and said "Woohoo isn't that great?" and went for a high five. It took me a second but I just accepted the high five and replied "ok" in my normal voice.

And another example was also back when I was an asst manager. There was a group of people that was having a birthday party but they had used there alloted time up but wouldn't leave and was also being slightly disruptive. I knew that it was wrong but I was unable to handle the situation because I didn't know exactly what to do.
I was recognized as a good assistant manager but I remember people telling me that I needed to work on my "people skills" because I would occasionally handle a situation without regard to the customers feelings.



Iloveshoujoai
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16 May 2011, 5:25 pm

Most people with asperger's are going to have some social anxiety, but anxiety is not the main reason for lack of socialization, rather lack of social skill and sensory overload are the causes of the anxiety much of the time. Of course there are many other symptoms of AS, it is not simply a social dysfunction. So telling them apart will not be too difficult if you know the symptoms. If someone only has anxiety then socializing around people they are comfortable around should be much easier than with new acquaintances, but for people with asperger's their level of comfort will only make so much of a difference in social ability. That's how it is with me at least.



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16 May 2011, 7:44 pm

I have Aspergers yet I am extremley outgoing. I lvoe getting up in front of the class and meeting new people. But i just cannot look someone in the eyes. I do know other Aspergers people who hate talking to others and social speaking. Whereas I like it, i think i like the attention (because maybe i feel taht no-one cares for me and ,ike it when someone talks tome0.



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16 May 2011, 7:53 pm

I have Aspergers yet I am extremley outgoing. I lvoe getting up in front of the class and meeting new people. But i just cannot look someone in the eyes. I do know other Aspergers people who hate talking to others and social speaking. Whereas I like it, i think i like the attention (because maybe i feel taht no-one cares for me and ,ike it when someone talks tome0.



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16 May 2011, 9:24 pm

I can see a difference between:

1. People who are naturally extraverted and also have SAD versus AS and
2. People who are introverted with SAD versus AS

The latter are a bit harder to differentiate because unlike 1 above, introverts, like most AS tend to be excessively focused on their own internal thoughts. Even when they talk to other people, they're not really talking/listening to them at a "deep"/interactive level, even if they are seeking social interaction. There doesn't seem to be this two-way street ("connection") that is seen with NTs, I think. My psychiatrist told me that autistics (and severe introverts?) tend to talk at people not with them. It's as if social interaction is not so much a way to get to know others but to bounce and learn stuff from others or meet basic needs (sex, companionship). I'm not sure if this makes sense, but as a severe introvert, I can relate to this. Then again, I could be full of crap because, I still have a lot of trouble to understanding how I think and relate to others. I seem to change my mind/personality daily depending on what I read.



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17 May 2011, 11:21 am

ambroseboy wrote:
I have Aspergers yet I am extremley outgoing. I lvoe getting up in front of the class and meeting new people. But i just cannot look someone in the eyes. I do know other Aspergers people who hate talking to others and social speaking. Whereas I like it, i think i like the attention (because maybe i feel taht no-one cares for me and ,ike it when someone talks tome0.


Since when do Aspies love meeting new people?



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17 May 2011, 5:59 pm

I think there are a lot of posters on here (whether self-diagnosed or barely meeting the diagnostic criteria) that latch onto the Aspie label for all its worth but don't even have it or have a very mild case of it.

I know posters on here who graduated from a 4 year college with honors and no assistance whatsoever, drive a car just fine, will be able to live on their own and work a conventional 40 hour job, never got made fun of/harassed in school, but claim they have Aspergers because "they went unnoticed socially," don't get along well with extroverts, and like sci-fi and video games. Being a nerd and a social loser doesn't necessarily mean you have Aspergers.

Of course, not all Aspies have the same problems, but I really do think there are a lot of people on this board that just say "Oh I have Aspergers" but are really just emo.



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17 May 2011, 6:11 pm

Supernova008 wrote:
Since when do Aspies love meeting new people?

Hear hear