Antisocial Personality Disorder vs Social Anxiety

Antisocial Personality Disorder vs Social Anxiety


The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder vs social anxiety are mostly alike and also share some common features, but we all should keep in mind that there is a lot of difference between them and are counted as separate mental health conditions. Because both of the conditions appear very similar in many ways, it’s very common for people to mistake the disorder or treatment of one for another.

People with social anxiety and antisocial personality have a fear of being judged or embarrassed in social situations. People tend to describe a person with these types of conditions as shy, timid, or even awkward

Many times just getting help from a psychologist is more important than having a specific diagnosis for any disorder as it mostly created a lot of confusion because of many similar symptoms. But many people are also eager to find what’s affecting them. Sometimes people are looking for the best approach to their treatment but due to the merging of many symptoms of separate mental health issues, misdiagnosis is very common to affect treatment and can make it very hard for a person to improve.

What is meant by antisocial personality disorder?

An antisocial personality disorder is a form of disorder that is very closely associated with personality. A personality disorder is related to a specific kind of mental health issue where the thought and behavior pattern of a person affects their daily life, and those with personality disorders generally experience difficulty in their personal and professional life because they have a very hard time understanding emotions of other people and their common situations.

People who suffer from antisocial personality disorder are often characterized as persistent antisocial, irresponsible, and tending towards criminal behavior. Those are often impulsive or aggressive, with no intention of harm or distress causing to other people.

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety is a type of anxiety where a person has to face his fear of being in social situations. People who are having social anxiety worry a lot about making themselves embarrassed in public or doing something inappropriate that will cause many people to judge them negatively.

It’s way too common for people to feel scared or nervous about doing something embarrassing in front of the whole crowd, but the feelings of fear and anxiety that come with social phobia are way too distressing that they are capable of creating difficulty at work, school, or any other parts of their daily life. It is estimated that around 75% of people between the age of 8 and 15 are diagnosed with social anxiety.

Antisocial personality disorder vs social anxiety

There is a fundamental difference between antisocial personality disorder vs social anxiety disorder which relates based on how a person views their own experience and how they react to their pain.

Those people who go through anxiety disorder understand at a basic level that their anxiety is not rational and that the world doesn’t judge them too harshly as they judge their own selves. 

There has been always a debate whether antisocial personality is a more severe type of social anxiety among many mental health experts. Many times, these issues are often diagnosed together and tend to overlap at a point where they might seem to have a different perspective of the same concern.

While people with antisocial personality tend to avoid the crowd in most or all areas of life, social anxiety only involve avoidance in very specific situations. 

But those with antisocial personality disorder, lack this insight. They hold very deep-rooted feelings of worthless and insecurity that they believe they are factual.”

People with antisocial personalities often feel they are not scared of being embarrassed in the crowd but are socially awkward and way too inferior to others. They are way too sensitive to criticism and rejection and often avoid making friends or participating in any of the social events unless they are sure that they are welcome.

Feelings of self-loathing are more strongly associated with antisocial personality than social anxiety. This condition is very rarely diagnosed in children, though it often develops in childhood.

Risk factors

Experiencing, any negative events in childhood such as trauma, bullying, and abuse can increase the risk of social anxiety as well as antisocial personality. Any kind of neglection to a person particularly physical neglection increases the risk factor for antisocial personality.

According to the 2015 study comparing both the conditions found that having a feeling of being rejected by caregivers, or not getting desired affection in childhood increases antisocial personality.

Certain risk factors differ between the two conditions. Some of them are:

  • Some research has suggested that antisocial personality is more likely when someone’s physical appearance changes after some sort of illness.
  • Research suggests brain structure may help in contributing to anxiety. If your amygdala, which regulates the response of your fear, is very active, then people may experience greater anxiety in specific situations than other people.
  • Having parents with social anxiety increases the chances of you getting anxiety by 2-6 times.


Social anxiety and antisocial personality tend to have some similarities, and their approach to treatment may also be similar. But regardless of which condition you are suffering from, therapy always helps.

It’s very important to reach for help if you’re struggling with any kind of social situation. When social anxiety or antisocial personality go untreated, complications like depression, isolation, or substance abuse have more chances to develop. Some people also start to experience distress and loneliness.

Talking to your therapist can help you get in diagnosis. Seeing a psychologist can always help as it will always help to cope with the feelings you experience and in exploring methods of overcoming all these feelings. Therapy helps in becoming more used to others’ company as it makes it easier to participate in social situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques. What distinguishes social anxiety from antisocial personality?
Ans. Those with social anxiety have low self-esteem in social situations but they do not believe they are inferior. People with antisocial personality disorder internalize this criticism so completely that they start to believe that their pending hostile perspective is justified.

Ques. Can antisocial disorder cause anxiety?
Ans. About 50% of men with antisocial personality disorder show anxiety disorder as heightened responsiveness to threat helps in leading to persistent violent behavior

Ques. Does social anxiety worsen with age?
Ans. Anxiety disorders don’t necessarily get worse with age but it is shown that Anxiety becomes common with older age and is most common among middle-aged adults.

Ques. What is the treatment for social anxiety or antisocial personality disorder?
Ans. Therapy is recommended for both antisocial personality and social anxiety. A mental health professional can diagnose mental health issues. If you think you have symptoms of any of these you should make an appointment with a qualified counselor.

Ques. Is personality disorder not treatable?
Ans. This isn’t the case. They can be difficult to treat if you’ve had symptoms for a long time. But therapy can still be very helpful. People with antisocial personalities often seek treatment when they experience loneliness or distress as they are unable to participate in any kind of social event.

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