Introvert or Asperger’s??

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Dear IntrovertZone,

Within in the last year, my mom has mentioned to me a couple different times that she wonders if I (along with herself and my younger brother) may have Asperger’s syndrome. I was somewhat shocked because I’ve never considered that I may fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, but now I am considering the possibility that it may be true. What I’m wondering is… how would someone know if they are simply very introverted or if they truly have some kind of “disorder”? I am 33 and have seen doctors and counselors for years for anxiety & depression who have never suggested such a thing. I do fit many of the symptoms/characteristics of someone with Asperger’s (normal to high intelligence, difficulty dealing with people, avoiding eye contact, obsess over specific topics, overwhelmed with too much sensory input, MAJOR difficulty in the working world, highly creative, etc.) Should I pursue a diagnosis? I’m just not sure what to do now that I have been presented with this possibility.

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27 Comments

  1. If you are still in therapy, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. But it seems the treatment is very similar.

    By your description, it would be hard to know if it’s introversion or Asperger’s. I think the big telling point is how you pick up on social clues. If you are shy, social anxiety, you are usually overly sensitive to non-verbal cues.

    I believe my ex-husband has Asperger’s and he is a total Extrovert. But he has no clue if someone is interested, disgusted or annoyed with him. He will follow someone from room to room trying to complete or explain a joke. If people don’t laugh at what he considers a joke or pun, he explains it over and over again until they verbally complain. I have had therapists ask if he has ever been diagnosed.

  2. This is actually the first time I have heard about Asperger and I am not familiar with it actually.. Anyway, thanks for sharing the experience here..

  3. I am no expert on Asperger’s, in fact I only heard about it a few years ago. It was in a newspaper article and it listed off the typical character traits and (for want of a better word) symptoms. When I read this list it felt like they were describing me. It was a shock.

    When the shock wore off and I did more research I realised that this same list of ‘symptoms’ can describe quite a wide range of other issues people can have. Many of the feelings and behaviours people with Asperger’s have are common to social anxiety and introversion etc etc.

    I came to the conclusion that in my case I was a very introverted with lingering social anxiety type issues, and so didn’t go for assessment. In your case the fact that you have had anxiety and been seen by doctors who haven’t suggested Asperger’s makes me think it less likely that you have it.

    Something you might want to ask yourself is, will knowing one way or the other help you with your life? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you should get assessed even if they tell you you’re not Asperger’s.

  4. Charlenevans on

    Have you tried to consult it with your therapist? Because Asperger syndrome also deals with difficulty of a person to deal with social interaction, or maybe it’s somewhat the same in a way with being an introvert.
    If I were you and to make sure, consult your therapist.
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  5. I came to the conclusion that in my case I was a very introverted with lingering social anxiety type issues, and so didn’t go for assessment. Thanks that you’ve shared.
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  6. I think it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
    Before I realized I was an introvert, I thought I was antisocial, depressed, and even crazy. When I read about it, I was enlightened.
    But having an expert confirm this or not, in your case, would definitely help you, I think. Just so you can have some kind of closure.
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  7. There are many names out there for the same thing. There are a ton of ways someone can be diagnosed and there are sometimes very little between some disorders and others and a psychology or psychiatrist has to make some choice in the matter. However, I have found one thing that can help. Almost all behaviors are learnt some how. So, if we can learn one thing, then we can learn something else. I know some one is going to read this and think it is not that easy and it is not that easy. It is one of those things that sounds easier than what it is, but it is what it is and it is possible. In fact, nothing is impossible if the variables are right.

    The outcome of anything changes, if the variables change enough. I suspect that I could possibly help many who have this issue, if they wanted to. However, that is a choice for them to make. I have helped many people with anxiety disorders, social phobias, anxiety disorders and much more. Thanks for the great read.
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  8. My cousin has Asperger’s. Very high functioning, several Ph.D.’s–But, it’s like talking to a wall. He knows what he knows and will tell you. He knows what he doesn’t know, and will tell you he doesn’t know. If curious, he’ll get every bit of it from you and follow up with research. If uninterested, the whole room can be talking about it and he’ll walk away from whomever is speaking. If you ask a question, he’ll go on forever about it….. If you are socially okay and only have introvert habits, why bother getting diagnosed? In what way would it benefit you to know for sure? Weigh the pro’s & cons–treatment can get expensive and what would you hope to get out of it?

  9. This is a very interesting article and I have enjoyed reading the comments. I personally do not know alot about aspergers but I will learn a little more.. Thank you for you sharing.

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  12. I would recommend reading the book Aspergirls by Rudy Simone (as well as her other books). Aspie women do NOT act the same as Aspie men. As one person in the field has said, “If you’ve met one Aspie, you’ve met one Aspie.” I thought I was just an introvert, but I scored 46 on the diagnostic test when most average women score an average of 15. Anything over 32 means it’s likely you’re an Aspie. Look into Simon Baron-Cohen’s work and test. Also, I wouldn’t go to just anyone for a diagnosis, because very few professionals are adept enough in the field to give you an accurate diagnosis — especially if you’re female. Rudy Simone lists doctors who diagnose females on her site, in fact (link at end of my note). I’d check out books by both Rudy Simone and Tony Attwood, then read their advice on what to look for if you want a diagnosis. Many older Aspies are self-diagnosed, however, because of the difficulty and expense of obtaining an expert opinion from someone who understands not just Aspies, but FEMALE Aspies. Here is Rudy Simone’s site. You may want to check it out: http://www.help4aspergers.com/index.html. Good luck in your research!

  13. Oh, what a perfect question. I have LONG wondered about the connection. I have felt like a fully functioning but painfully suffering person with such a faint level of Aspergers that I could never get any credit for having the thing, but had plenty of suffering from experiencing the thing. SO GLAD scientific inquiry is starting to ask this question. I finally feel like I can breathe!

  14. it’s worth a shot to be “tested”
    im an introvert that has struggled with anxiety & depression for much of my life as well (im now 32 yrs old) and last year things go so bad i thought i had Aspergers b/c i felt so misunderstood by everyone around me and over stimulated and agitated by the littlest thing so i got tested by a neuropsychologist and while i do not have Aspergers i learned much about my brain. introverted brains actually process information DIFFERENTLY than extroverted brains., seriously! it’s Neurology People!

  15. People are skipping some huge parts of what Aspergers is about. Sensory issues, Emotional meltdowns, and stereotypcial behaviors, to start with.

  16. Disorders are character traits and we all have those, right? I worried I had aspergers but I think it’s just my diagnosed ADD plus introversion.

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