Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1
The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.
One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.
Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.
Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:
While there are a number of treatments available for Aspergers, many have little data to show the effectiveness. The most common approach is Behavioral Therapy, focusing on the person's specific issues. This can be an effective method and can help improve communication skills, reduce repetitious and obsessive behaviors, and may even be useful with physical clumsiness.
Most people with AS show improvement with treatment, but difficulties with communication and social interaction can exist into adulthood and can often make independent living a struggle. Recently there has been a shift in attitude, with many pushing the idea that it is now a disability or disorder, simply a difference.
The lack of empathy prevalent in the disorder makes interpersonal relationships difficult for most with Asperger Syndrome. Many individuals also have additional problems such as an inability to hold eye contact, awkwardness with posture, and a lack of facial expression. They are often unable to read the subtleties of body language and facial expressions necessary to interact normally. This can often lead to others seeing them as uncaring or selfish. Those with AS are usually shocked and upset when told their actions were inappropriate or hurtful.
While those with Autism are typically withdrawn, a person with AS are not afraid to approach others. This can often be quite awkward and off-putting for others as those with AS may engage in long-winded speeches about a favorite topic instead of discussions. Those with Aspergers tend to misunderstand or not recognize the reactions and feelings of those they are with. Some mistake this social awkwardness as a disregarding of feelings which means making friends can be quite difficult for those with AS. Sadly after a number of failed social encounters and attempts at friendship, the childhood desire for companionship can become numbed.
Individuals with AS can often discuss the intricacies of social norms in almost scientific detail without the ability to put that knowledge into action. Quite often their attempts to "act normal" can cause additional problems when others misinterpret their intentions.
Another major feature of AS that can cause problems in relationships is the restriction or repetition of behavior. They may create strict routines and follow them without regard for others, or focus so intently on a particular item or task that they ignore their friends and family members.
Other features of AS such as talking too much, or too loudly, or rapidly changing subjects can also result in social problems. They may also tend to take things too literally, leading to unexpected responses and sometimes hurt feelings.
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