what is the difference between autism and social anxiety - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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what is the difference between autism and social anxiety

whats the difference.....my dad the other day asked me if i was on the autism spectrum, i didnt know.....i know i have bad social anxiety buut autism, whats the difference?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 01:43 PM
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There's a big difference....too big to even quantify in a forum post.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by irishkarl View Post
whats the difference.....my dad the other day asked me if i was on the autism spectrum, i didnt know.....i know i have bad social anxiety buut autism, whats the difference?
Autism is on a spectrum, hence the name "autism spectrum disorder". There are mild cases, and severe cases. I don't think you're a low-functioning autist, because if that was the case you (and everyone else) would know. Typically, autistic individuals have a very poor grasp of social skills and have difficulty understanding subtle cues when interacting with others. It's also difficult for many people on the spectrum to feel empathy towards others (although there are many who are very empathetic!). People w autism also tend to be fixated on one or several hobbies or interests, as opposed to being interested in a wide spectrum of things. Again, these are generalizations; everyone on the spectrum is different.

Social anxiety on the other hand is simply described as a fear or aversion of social interactions. This usually stems from a fear of rejection from others. People with severe social anxiety usually depend extremely on being liked, accepted, and approved by others for their self-esteem. Because of their low self-confidence, people with SA often have difficulty initiating social interactions. This could range from: approaching a potential employer at a networking event, making cold calls, asking someone out romantically, asking a friend (or potential friend) to hang out, starting a conversation with a coworker or classmate, giving a presentation at work or school, and so on. Like with autism, social anxiety is also on a spectrum. Everyone feels SA to some degree, but if your SA is so severe that it interferes with your well-being or even living your day to day life, then we call that social anxiety disorder. Me personally, my SA is moderate, and I've missed out on a lot of opportunities because of that, but it's not so terrible that I cannot leave the house. (There are those in Asian countries called 'hikikomori' who are unfortunately in such a situation. They also tend to be quite depressed, which further damages their situation.)

Many people with autism tend to have social anxiety, likely because it was hard for them to feel accepted by their peers in childhood. Kids can be quite judgemental, and often don't really understand autism (or ADHD), which makes it hard for children on the spectrum to make friends. However, it's quite possible for an autistic person to not have SA, and it's certainly possible that a person with moderate-to-severe SA does not have autism. Ultimately, you'll have to talk to a doctor if you're looking to get properly screened, though many doctors are reluctant to diagnose adults with autism. I think it's because "autistic behavior" is less noticeable in adults than in children, but I'm not sure of the exact reason.

I actually took a test for autism called RAADS that my doctor gave me. I scored above the threshold for "autism", though not by much. Despite this, my doctor didn't want to diagnose me with ASD, and basically told me to take the results with a grain of salt.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 02:20 PM
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A lot of autistic people have social anxiety as well, but they're not really similar. Not misdiagnosed as one another often. Many autistic people also don't have social anxiety. For a basic description you could read the wikipedia page:


This might be more relevant:


Some people heard my words and thought it meant they knew me
Truth is, I don't exist, I'm just a soundtrack to your movie
Some background figure in a story that's already scripted
And what I feel's just felt for you to hear me ****ing spit it
I jump in many different heads through these words and poems
Always hoping maybe the next leap'll be my leap home

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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anyone else with an opinion on this
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 12:51 AM
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My opinion would be maybe you could define it by one not understanding social cues being on the autism spectrum and then one understanding social cues but being too social anxious to speak up sometimes.. It’s just my opinion though there’s a chance it’s not true.

Edit: iv seen people make YouTube videos that are on the spectrum and seem very aware and very intelligent. So maybe it depends which side of the spectrum someone is on when it comes to sociability
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 03:09 AM
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My opinion is that your dad should really know about your issues

(assuming you have had them since childhood)

**** your feelings !!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-29-2020, 12:37 PM
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Maybe your father's question hints at what "label" for your issues he can deal with better!?

Autismus seems pretty socially acceptable these days! Those with savantism even quite interesting!

SA is often "just" considered an emotional "problem" of "wimps" or highly sensitive people or whatever. It's not tangible for many!

If it helps your Dad and family to understand your issues better and accept them, why not just confirm that it is something like slight autism?

Or maybe you need alternative labels or justifications for your issues yourself?
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