Autism and anxiety can have similar symptoms, such as difficulties in social situations and with routine changes. Still, they are separate, though often co-occurring, conditions. Autism is neurodevelopmental, while anxiety is a mental health condition.
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Social anxiety (SA) commonly co-occurs with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is conceivable that inherent socio-communication impairments, or their impact on social experiences, contribute to the development of SA.
Autism is not being socially awkward
It’s not awkwardness. Autistic people are often excellent at socialising with each other, where they can avoid eye contact, stim, avoid small talk, share information and rely on their own natural communication preferences.
Do I have autism or am I just shy?
As with many common mental health disorders and emotional behaviors, two or more symptoms and diagnoses often overlap. For instance, shyness may be accompanied by a social anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder symptoms might indicate autism in some cases. There is a link between autism and social awkwardness.
Social anxiety disorder is well suited to the spectrum concept because it has trait-like qualities of early onset, chronicity, and no empirically derived threshold that demarcates normal from clinically significant trait social anxiety.