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What’s the Difference Between Asocial & Antisocial?

What’s the Difference Between Asocial & Antisocial?

The terms ‘asocial’ and ‘antisocial’ are often used interchangeably to describe a person who doesn’t have the motivation to interact with people, basically a person who doesn’t want any kind of social interaction. However, in the dictionary and in the clinical mental health context both of the terms have a different meaning.

  • Asocial: It refers to an individual who doesn’t have the motivation to engage in social interaction, or he/she just prefers solitary activities.
  • Antisocial: It refers to an individual who is against social order or society.

The prefix ‘a’ in ‘asocial’ means without, or lack of, and the prefix ‘anti’ in ‘antisocial’ means against. ‘Antisocial’ denotes preferences against social order and society, while ‘asocial’ refers to a person who isn’t social or has a preference for solitary activities. Moreover, asocialilty is considered a personality trait, while antisociality is said by the doctors to be a personality disorder, called Anti-Social Personality Disorder, or ASPD.

Here is a table for the differences between asocial and antisocial.

Prefix ‘a’ means without, or lackPrefix ‘anti’ means against
Asociality is found in people with a mental disorderAntisocial is a disorder itself
Asociality is a personality traitAntisocial is a personality disorder
Asociality is observed in introvertsAntisocial is completely the opposite of an introvert
Difference between Asocial and Antisocial

Keep reading to know more.

What is an asocial person?

the silhouette of a person sitting alone

Asocial is a person that doesn’t have the motivation to engage in social interactions or just has a strong liking for solitary activities. Such kinds of people don’t have any interest in being social or being a part of any social activity.

Asociality has its negatives as well as positive effects and it has been researched from many perspectives which require a certain kind of understanding. Asociality isn’t as simple as it sounds, thus it can’t have only one explanation.

Scientific research suggests that having asociality as a personality trait can be useful for human behavior, cognition, and personality. Introverted, aloof, or asocial traits can prevent an individual from getting into impulsive and dangerous social situations, moreover, voluntary seclusion can stimulate creativity, give people time to think and reflect as well as easily see useful patterns.

Furthermore, studies say, social and analytical parts of the brain function in a mutually exclusive way, and keeping this information in mind, researchers noted that the people who spend less or no time socializing use their analytical part of the brain more often and thereby can come up with hunting strategies, can create tools and observe useful patterns in the environment generally for their own protection as well as the protection of the group, basically these people are faster to detect and react to the changes in the environment.

blocks that spell out mental health matters
Asociality can be found in people who’re experiencing a mental disorder.

One should keep in mind that asociality itself isn’t a mental disorder, it’s basically a trait that a person with a mental disorder can develop.

In schizophrenia (Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which people can interpret reality abnormally and often leads to hallucinations and delusions) asociality is one of the major 5 “negative symptoms”. It’s said that withdrawal from any kind of social interaction or activity is extremely common among people who have schizophrenia. Asociality is developed in them when they experience social deficits or dysfunction.

Asociality can also be observed in people who are experiencing major depressive disorder or dysthymia, as they have a loss of interest in everyday activities and hobbies they once used to enjoy.

What is antisocial?

Mental or personality disorders are serious mental health issues as they can affect how one thinks, feels, perceives, or relates to others.

Being antisocial is one of the many personality disorders, it’s characterized as having impulsive, irresponsible, and criminal behavior. A person with antisocial disorder is deceitful, manipulative, and doesn’t care about people’s feelings or emotions.

An antisocial disorder like any other personality disorder is on a spectrum, meaning it can get severe ranging from mildly bad behavior to breaking the laws or committing crimes, additionally research says, most psychopaths have an extreme form of antisocial personality disorder. Moreover, an antisocial personality disorder is said to have more effect on men than women.

Here is a video in which experienced Professors talk about antisocial personality disorder.

What is antisocial personality disorder

How is antisocial personality disorder developed?

Researchers say genetics, as well as a traumatic childhood, can lead to developing an antisocial personality disorder, like a child who was abused or neglected by his/her loved ones.

Most people with this disorder have grown up or lived in difficult family circumstances, such as both or one parent acting out from the consumption of alcohol, or harsh and inconsistent parenting.

Criminal behavior is considered the main feature of antisocial personality disorder, which will at one point lead to imprisonment.

Men who suffer from antisocial personality disorder are 3 to 5 times more likely than women to misuse alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have this disorder. Furthermore, because of their reckless behavior and suicidal attempts, they have an increased risk of dying prematurely.

People with antisocial personality disorder are far more likely to be homeless and unemployed and also have relationship problems during adulthood.

Are introverts antisocial or asocial?

the back of a person wearing a beanie
Extreme asociality has been observed in people who experience clinical conditions.

Introverts can’t be antisocial because being antisocial is the opposite of being an introvert, antisocial people are said to have impulsive, irresponsible, and criminal behavior, whereas introverts are friendly, but mostly prefer to be alone.

Asociality on the other hand has been observed in introverted people but only to a small degree. Furthermore, extreme asociality has been observed in people who experience clinical conditions.

Introverted people feel more comfortable being alone and they prefer to solely focus on their inner thoughts or ideas, rather than being interested in what’s going on outside.

There’re many misconceptions about introverts and one of them is that they’re antisocial, shy, or unfriendly. These misconceptions were formed based on the fact that introverts like to be alone, which is wrong, if a person prefers solitude, it certainly doesn’t mean that he/she is unfriendly or antisocial.

According to Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength. “It’s kind of like a battery they recharge,” adding “And then they can go out into the world and connect really beautifully with people.”

How do I know if I’m antisocial?

A person with antisocial disorder doesn’t admit that he/she has the disorder, it’s a mental condition that is far more complicated than it sounds. However, here is a list of signs.

  • exploitation, manipulation, or violation of other people’s rights.
  • lacking concern, regret, or remorse about people’s distress.
  • Irresponsible behavior or showing disregard towards normal social behavior.
  • Have difficulty sustaining relationships.
  • Unable to control their temper.
  • Don’t have guilt and don’t learn from their mistakes.
  • Blame others for problems in their lives.
  • Frequently break the law.

People with antisocial personality disorder, during their childhood, have a history of conduct disorder, for instance, truancy which means staying away from school without a having a good reason, delinquency (committing minor crimes), and other disruptive and aggressive behaviors.

a person solemnly sitting
A person can only be diagnosed with APD if the person is 18 years old or older.

In order to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, a person will have a history of conduct disorder before the age of 15. Moreover, a person can only be diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder if the person is 18 years old or more and if at least 3 of the behaviors which are listed below apply.

  • Breaking of the law repeatedly.
  • Constantly being deceitful.
  • Being impulsive and unable to plan ahead.
  • Constantly irritated and aggressive.
  • Being reckless for their own safety and the safety of others.
  • Constant irresponsible behavior.
  • Lacking remorse.

One should keep in mind that these signs aren’t the signs of a schizophrenic or manic episode, these signs are a part of a person’s personality and behavior.

To Conclude

Antisocial is a personality trait like asocial, it’s a severe mental condition that should be diagnosed before it gets worse than it already is.

Asocial is a personality trait that anyone can develop, however it has been observed in people who suffer from mental conditions.

Antisocial people are against society and that resentment is shown through breaking laws, while asocial people lack the motivation in engaging social interaction, they basically prefer to be alone.

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