Difference between Social Anxiety and AS...

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kfisherx
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28 Dec 2011, 6:53 pm

Social Anxiety is very often comorbid to ASD. Only the more nuanced challenged ASD people will typically develop this though. The more severely autistic do not suffer socially nearly so much. Partly because they are completely unaware (and therefore do not care) and partly because they are more visibly disabled so people tend to not bully them as much.

I think that there is little to no clear line between the two in a person who has both qualities. But again this presumes that you have enough ASD symptoms (see the new DSM V definition) to actually qualify for an ASD diagnosis. This is why many people will actually no longer be labeled as ASD but will have Social Anxiety labels instead.



bumble
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28 Dec 2011, 7:02 pm

Is this the new criteria?

A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:

1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,

2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.

3. Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and in making friends to an apparent absence of interest in people

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following:

1. Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).

4. Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

C. Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)

D. Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.



Verdandi
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28 Dec 2011, 7:09 pm

yes.

I don't think anyone is going to lose their diagnosis unless they have to be reevaluated and don't meet the new criteria.



bumble
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28 Dec 2011, 7:31 pm

I do not fully know what they mean exactly by some of that criteria.

Ie

1 Lack of social initiation.

I rarely initiate social contact as I don't always really know how to do so, so wait for people to approach me. The only time I initiate social interaction is by starting a thread on a forum board. Otherwise 99.99% of the time I either carry on about my business ignoring people around me or wait for people to interact with me.

2. Repetitive use of an object.

I repetitively rub a piece of silky material for most of the day lol, but is this counted as repetitive use of an object?

3 Lack of interest in people.

What does this mean exactly? I struggle to be interested in people in some ways. I mean I care that people are ok and not suffering or in pain but I struggle to be interested in their every day life events unless it is someone I love or they need urgent assistance.

I do sometimes ask how people are or how their Xmas was because I have learned to do this because it is expected.

On the surface I come across as very self absorbed and am often accused of being selfish, however this is not because I don't care about people, I do care about people, I just struggle to be interested in their lives unless we share a common area of interest or I am in love with them. Which makes me feel like a horrible person.

I am perhaps too self absorbed to maintain friendships. I have spent years trying to change it but it takes so much effort to focus outwards when I am socialising that I experience burn out as a result.



bumble
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28 Dec 2011, 7:35 pm

And people require more socialising than I can cope with.



MindWithoutWalls
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28 Dec 2011, 7:40 pm

hartzofspace wrote:
I attended a Christmas party with my fiance, which was held at the home of his boss. Even though I thought that I was doing well, nearly two hours after leaving the event, I started to shake and was close to tears.


This is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about, though I've gotten a lot better with it over the years. Lately, though, even in very familiar settings, my anxiety in social situations in general has been worse, because of my assessment struggles and the anguish I've felt as a result. (I've just now decided to change my WP status from "don't know" to "undiagnosed", though, encouraged by the chapters in the book I'm reading that were written by undiagnosed Aspies. It finally feels right to me to be so bold now.)

My girlfriend has come home, and she's confirmed that her feeling is that I'm a social protector for her social anxiety, making socializing more bearable for her, and she's a social buffer/helper for me with my Aspie social issues and the anxiety they provoke.

I have to say, bumble, I'm really glad for this thread. It's helped me clarify some things I hadn't thought about very deeply before. Thanks!


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bumble
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28 Dec 2011, 7:52 pm

If I were to list all my symptoms in one list it would be as follows:

Difficulty initiating social contact
Difficulty in knowing how to make, and making, friends
Difficulty maintaining relationships due my being rigid with things like my routines and hobby time etc
Get very upset when I don't get hobby time.
Little desire for friendship beyond the desire for one close companion (lover) and maybe one close friend with whom I share a bond with.
Friends must share the same interests as myself.
No interest in socialising with strangers just for the sake of socialising (with one exception stated below)
No interest in socialising with people who I do not share a bond with (only as a means to find someone to bond with if no existing bonds are in place).
Abnormal interest in hobbies (to the point of seeming almost obssessed which at the moment works well for me as my present hobby is studying geology and maths in which areas I am doing a degree).
Hobbies can change but I tend to fixate on one or two main ones at a time whilst others either go dormant or fade away.
Entire purpose of the day is to find time for my interest (whether I am doing a degree in it or not)
Losing myself in my interest to the expense of getting other things done (I need someone to do my housework I think lol)
Repeatedly talking about the same subject
Repeatedly asking the same questions over and over
Talking at people rather than with them (one exception I may enjoy socialising is if I can talk to someone about my interest)
Some social anxiety in certain contexts
Difficulty reading some body language and facial expressions but not all (mostly the subtle stuff).
Terribly self absorbed
A need for sameness in some ways (but ok with change in others).
Odd habits such as rubbing a piece of silky material, eat the same flavoured ice cream every saturday (which I enjoy), listening to the same song over and over again, watching the same film over and over again (which I again enjoy),
Light sensitivity
Difficulty in crowded places due to noise and visual problems.
Sensitivity to chemicals and certain materials.
Am lonely sometimes and want bonds but find socialising exhausting and cannot keep up with the amount of socialisation most people need.
Need a lot of alone time to think/work on hobbies/recharge my energy levels...highly introverted.
Academically bright (A average) but emotionally immature and prone to tantrums when overwhelmed even at age 36 (tantrums these days consist of bursting into tears or verbally ranting).

And so on, I think that is most of it.

What i don't know if it is worth asking for a test for Aspergers or an ASD or if I should be looking at other disorders. I presently get disability as I cannot cope with a lot of social interaction and change (due my need for sameness in some ways...certain types of change cause me much distress) but do not know if I have the right over all diagnosis which is of social anxiety and depression.



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29 Dec 2011, 2:22 am

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
I'm the same as kfisherx. I couldn't care less about people's opinions of me. I hate being around people because of all the annoyances associated with neurotypicals. I'm very glad I'm the type of Aspie who has zero social anxiety. I relish in giving presentations and doing public speaking in general. I have a talent for public speaking, and since I have no fear whatsoever of getting up in front of people, I've been able to develop this skill.


You guys are so lucky, social anxiety is a b***h.

The difference is simple. People with aspergers dont know "how" to socialize and the ones that have overlapping SA, are afraid of screwing up because we screw up so frequently. People with just SA and not aspie and NTs who have the social tools(can socialize perfectly fine) are terrified to do it. They are so terrified that they often avoid situations. The NTs with SA, there fear is irrational. The aspies with SA, there fear is somewhat if not entirely rational.



pensieve
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29 Dec 2011, 4:02 am

bumble wrote:
2. Repetitive use of an object.

I do repetitive things when socially nervous like lining up cutlery or playing with an object, like a phone or the zipper on my jacket.

Maybe they mean it in this way.

I actually fit all of that criteria. These days I am usually more impulsive and oblivious. I think I prefer it more than being quiet and nervous and not wanting to offend.


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29 Dec 2011, 12:52 pm

A lot of times I get people asking me for directions, or making small talk with me, especially in the bus station. Also I get people holding doors open for me, and people don't avoid me - I'm usually the first one on the bus who gets a person sitting next to me when it starts to fill up, and I get people sitting right close to me on a bench even when there's a big space. Sometimes that compliments me, because I know that people might avoid me or not bother to try to make friendly small talk with me if I looked weird or freaky or unsociable.

But I still seem to get all these negative thoughts in my head, even though things in reality could be a lot worse for me. But then I think, is it because I look daft and people are taking advantage of me? That still upsets me.


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hartzofspace
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29 Dec 2011, 4:56 pm

Joe90 wrote:
A lot of times I get people asking me for directions, or making small talk with me, especially in the bus station. Also I get people holding doors open for me, and people don't avoid me - I'm usually the first one on the bus who gets a person sitting next to me when it starts to fill up, and I get people sitting right close to me on a bench even when there's a big space. Sometimes that compliments me, because I know that people might avoid me or not bother to try to make friendly small talk with me if I looked weird or freaky or unsociable.


Same with me! Today I was sitting in a semi-crowded waiting room at my doctor's office and this woman came and sat right next to me 9 in the chair next to mine. The chairs were placed too close, so I immediately was overwhelmed with the smell of her breath, her body odor (weirdly unpleasant) and her constantly seeking eye contact so that she could initiate conversation. I avoided eye contact and got out a book. I can never stand having a perfect stranger sit so close. It's almost claustrophobic!


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29 Dec 2011, 5:46 pm

I had this social fear from the moment I entered kindergarten. I spend most of the time of these three years sitting under a table and drawing and I have many drawings from that time. Always houses. Age 3.5 I was able to draw in perspective. But never any persons except for myself.
But I was scared of the other children a lot, because the were noisy and moving a lot. There was one girl, who befriended me and she was the only child I sometimes had contact with. I never said a name of another child.
When we had to play outside I went hiding by the kindergarten teacher sitting on her lap and having meltdown when she had to go somewhere, because outside was even more noise and movement.
So this social fear was there from young age on, and looking at it now I guess I couldn't process all the information, which put my body into a state of fear.


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Joe90
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30 Dec 2011, 7:57 am

My social fear was triggered off when I was 19, on a snowy day, when I was walking across a thick sheet of ice on the pavement (since I had no choice), and these two wankers were laughing at me each time my foot slipped, as though they were trying to put me off and make me slip right over. From then onwards it has made me feel like people are watching me and observing my every move and laughing at whatever I do. Also I've developed a fear of snow too, and I have meltdowns whenever snow is forecasted.

They say it helps you a lot if you know what has triggered off your anxieties and/or fears, and what your anxieties and fears are, but I know both of these but still don't feel any different about them. In fact I'm more anxious and fearful than ever - and I face people every day, like I get the bus on my own to a busy shopping place, but it doesn't feel like I'm ''conquering'' anything. It seems to be getting worse, whether I avoid it more or join it more. Perhaps nothing will ever help me. Perhaps I'm built to live in fear and anger for the rest of my life.


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limau
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02 Jan 2012, 1:04 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I have both AS and social anxiety/phobia, but I'm not sure where the AS ends and where the social anxiety begins, it's like they overlap eachother.

Not all Aspies are socially unaware, because I'm not socially unaware. I constantly worry of what others think of me, and I'm scared of social failure, and I am too socially self-aware for my own good, which means I think of appropriate things in my head to say but am too afraid to verbalize them in case something goes wrong (ie, not getting a word in edgeways, being unsure about the difference between joining in and butting in, somebody interrupting me, fear of looking silly, etc).

This is also another common trait of people with social phobia and social anxiety what I definately have:-

I want to go to parties and other social events, but I never go anywhere like that because I'm very nervous about meeting new people. Too many people will be there and crowds only makes things worse for me. The thought of meeting new people scares me - will I know what to say? Will they stare at me and make me feel even more insignificant? Will they reject me outright? Even if they seem nice, they're sure to notice my frozen look and my inability to fully smile and make true sociable body language. They'll sense my discomfort and tenseness and they won't like me, they might even laugh at me or judge me, there's just no way to win. "I'm always going to be an outcast," I predict. And then I spend another night alone, at home, in my ''comfort zone''. I feel comfortable at home, where I can be myself. In fact, home is the only place I do feel 100 percent comfortable. I have never been to a party with a crowd of mates in my whole life! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

In public places, such as shopping centres, I feel that everybody is watching, staring, and judging me (even though rationally I know this isn't true, but still believe it because it just seems so real). I can't relax anywhere, "take it easy", or enjoy myself in public places. In fact, I can never fully relax when other people are around. It always feels like others are evaluating me, being critical of me, or "judging" me in some way, noticing something odd about my body language, and although I make an effort to go out looking presentable and acting ordinary, it still disturbs me that there will always be something ''off'' about me what people seem to recognise, and the thought of having strangers (especially women) notice who I am just by looking at me makes me feel very insecure. I know that people don't do this openly, of course, but I still feel the self-consciousness and judgment while I am in public places. It's sometimes impossible to let go, relax, and focus on anything else except the anxiety and fear. Because the anxiety is so very painful, it's much easier just to stay away from social situations and avoid other people altogether. Then I know that people can't pick on me, and I especially fear my peers picking on me (whom I don't know). I get chronic backache when out in public, simply because I'm holding myself stiffly because I'm scared to look awkward or geeky.


It's just so difficult to handle that it's unexplainable to people who don't experience these feelings.


a person with social anxiety (only) will not be able to write the above.



Joe90
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02 Jan 2012, 2:53 pm

Quote:
a person with social anxiety (only) will not be able to write the above.


I actually copied that off of somewhere, since the whole thing described me exactly without any exaggerations. I only had to convert tiny bits of it into my own words because we're all individuals, but the whole thing in general was exactly the same in me as what was put there.


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jenniferjupiter
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02 Jan 2012, 7:08 pm

dianthus wrote:
I dread interacting with people mostly because I fear the inevitable misunderstandings that occur. I worry that I will be manipulated or coerced into situations where I don't fully understand what is going on. I also fear people getting angry at me for no apparent reason, and on account of that I think tend to be excessively accomodating to people, to an extent that probably exacerbates my capability for being manipulated.


Exactly this. I've been manipulated by people and now I am hypervigilant (almost paranoid) about it happening. It fills me with a mix of anger and anxiety when I think people are trying to control me to get something they want, even if it's a minor thing. I realize that many people just do this but I am not well equipped to fight back because I can't process quickly enough all that's going on, figure out what people's motives are, and that leads to information and emotional overload. Stress.