Men and women with Asperger's Syndrome often have an above average intelligence, but studies have shown that those living with Asperger's are at an extremely high risk of developing anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders – especially for those with Asperger's – can be a considerable problem, because it may prevent people from learning behaviors or interesting with others in a way that would be beneficial for their long term outlook. Below are some commonly asked questions about Asperger's Syndrome and anxiety.

Q: How Many People with Asperger' s Syndrome Suffer from Anxiety?

A: While no specific number is known, it's estimated that as many as 7 or 8 out of every 10 children suffering from Asperger's will also show signs of an anxiety disorder. Whether these numbers continue into adulthood is less clear, but most experts believe the numbers are still high. These numbers are far greater than the rest of the population, where only 18% suffer from some type of anxiety disorder in the United States.

Q: Is It Just One Type of Anxiety?

A: No. While social anxiety is by far the most common, because social anxiety and Asperger's are often linked, those with Asperger's may also suffer from other anxiety issues, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic attacks. Some may also suffer from a combination of these conditions.

Q: Why is This a Problem?

A: Anxiety itself can interfere with your quality of life, and potentially lead to depression or the inability to enjoy everyday tasks. But more than that, those that are successfully living with Asperger's are working to manage they symptoms, create friendships, and enjoy activities, and anxiety limits the ability to continue to achieve those goals.

Q: Why is This Occurring?

A: Numerous life experiences can contribute to long term anxiety. As children (and adults) learned to interact with others, it's possible that issues communicating caused poor interactions, and those poor interactions contributed to anxiety. The Asperger's Association of New England attributes it to what they call a type of emotional and mental "exhaustion" that comes from depending too heavily on cognition over instinct when it comes to relating to others.
There may also be issues with upbringing, as few parents and teachers know how to raise and teach a child with Asperger's. Many people with Asperger's Syndrome also appreciate routines, and life itself also has a lot of breaks in routine that would eventually lead to anxiety disorders.

A lack of understanding about the disorder was likely also a cause for many adults. Most adults with Asperger's Syndrome grew up at a time when the issue itself was unknown. Since diagnosis was impossible until 1994, very few people were correctly treated, resulting in potentially ineffective or counterproductive treatment by others as a way of managing the disorder. In addition, most people living with

Asperger's struggled to even understand their own thoughts and feelings and why they were different than others. That may also have contributed to higher than average anxiety rates. Overall, however, there is no exact cause for everyone living with Asperger's, but a variety of contributing factors.

Q: What Are Some Signs of Anxiety in Those With Asperger's?

A: The general symptoms of each type of anxiety (physical anxiousness, worry, fear, negative thoughts) may all occur in those with Asperger's. But other issues, like severe social withdrawal, irritability, physical pain related to emotional experiences, repetitive behaviors, and too much reliance on a set and potentially unusual or unhealthy routine may also be anxiety symptoms
. Some may also rely too heavily on personal rules.

Q: Are There Treatments for Adults Living With Both
Asperger's and Anxiety?

A: Yes, and new treatments are still being researched every day. It's been suggested that people with Asperger's Syndrome benefit best by learning coping strategies for anxiety causes (rather than the anxiety itself). Learning to integrate these strategies for everyday events into their life can help reduce the severity of the anxiety. Similarly, it may be beneficial to teach relaxation techniques (deep breathing, visualization, etc.) and create a sanctuary where individuals can initiate these relaxation strategies in peace. Therapy can also be effective,but only by trained psychologists that understand how to work with Asperger's patients.

Q: Will There Be Less Anxiety in the Future?

A: A greater understanding of Asperger's Syndrome is going to go a long way toward reducing anxiety for future adults in the Asperger's population. A large percentage of adults with anxiety disorders developed those disorders because of a misunderstanding about what Asperger's really is and how to manage it. Now that Asperger's is becoming a more well-known condition, especially in the research community, more effective methods of treating Asperger's anxiety as a child and as an adult will be created, and the future of those living with Asperger's will be brighter.

Author's Bio: 

Ryan Rivera is an anxiety specialist, and provides information on anxiety at