I have been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.
To tell the truth, if I could choose then I would rather have schizophrenia then aspergers syndrome. With schizophrenia you can just take medication and go on to live your life normally and have a normal family and children.
From what I read about aspergers and what I experienced in my life, the world is a lot more cruel to someone with aspergers then to a schizophrenic (who accepts it and takes medication).
It is difficult for anyone to tell the difference between schizophrenia and aspergers unless they are a professional in the field as they undiagnosed aspergers causes behaviour that appears schizophrenic.
The best thing to do is read about it and give the person a book on aspergers so they can educate themselves. If they have aspergers then they will probably welcome a free book more then someone talking to them and telling them what they think.
Asperger Syndrome and Schizophrenia are vastly different disorders. However, there are
similarities. In fact, Asperger Syndrome was originally called "autistic psychopathy".
Schizophrenia is actually a spectrum which includes various different types of schizophrenia itself, as well as schizoaffective disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and schizoid personality disorder.
The main difference between Asperger Syndrome and schizophrenia spectrum disorders is, Asperger Syndrome does not involve psychosis. People with Asperger Syndrome do not have hallucinations, unwarranted paranoia, distorted concepts of reality, and so on, while people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, with the exception of schizoid personality disorder, do.
Another aspect of schizophrenia spectrum disorders that differs from AS is that social deficits in schizophrenia spectrum disorders, are often caused by paranoia that others are out to get them, or thinking negative thoughts of them.
Of the schizophrenia spectrum disorders schizoid personality disorder is most similar to AS, at least in a sense, by the mere fact that it does not involve hallucinations, or delusions, and these people are generally sane. People with schizoid personality disorder are either overtly, or secretly socially withdrawn. They struggle with feeling deep emotional connections to people, and often have a blunted, and limited range of emotions. This can mimic AS, but differs fundamentally from AS, as people with AS can and do form deep emotional connections with others when given opportunity to do so, and people with AS can express a full, unattenuated range of emotions sincerely.
Many people with AS, on the other hand, can and do form deep emotional connections with other people if given the opportunity. People with AS just don't know how to go about gaining that opportunity.
Unlike people with AS, people with schizoid personality disorder often form an internal fantasy world where they can interact normally without having to take the perceived risks of interacting in the real world. They tend to prefer this fantasy world to real life, and generally prefer to be left alone to indulge themselves in it.
People with AS may have the usual fantasy now and then but do not live in a fantasy world.
People with schizoid personality disorder usually take pleasure in "few, if any activites" while people with AS tend to take pleasure in various activities, and most particularly activities involving a special interest.
People with schizoid personality disorder tend to be indifferent to social norms. A person with AS may also be indifferent to social norms, however more often than not, people with AS just have a hard time recognizing and abiding by social norms.
So it can be difficult for someone not sufficiently familiar with the disorders, and who is not sufficiently familiar with the person in question, to make a proper diagnosis.