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IceCup

568d

What’s the difference btw an autistic meltdown and a panic attack? How do you not know someone just has severe anxiety?

Top reply
    • mthebrave

      505d

      @Cloudlight This makes so much sense thank you.

    • Cloudlight

      562d

      I actually just had a conversation about this with a friend! From what we could tell experience-wise, the main difference is that meltdowns lack a visceral sense of impending death. I am incredibly overwhelmed during meltdowns and feel an intense general fear, but I've never been convinced that I was dying during one. My friend has a panic disorder and was told that one of most identifiable symptoms of a panic attack is the belief that you might be dying. From a psychological standpoint, the main difference is that panic attacks are a hormonal over-reaction to initiate intense response to danger, while a meltdown is a hormonal response to intense emotions that autistic brains are unable to process and/or regulate. TL;DR Both are extreme responses to stress, but panic attacks are a disproportionate reaction to a stimulus that the individual's brain should reasonably be able to handle, while meltdowns are a loss of control caused by an experience the autistic brain is resonably unable to handle.

      • mthebrave

        505d

        @Cloudlight This makes so much sense thank you.

    • Tomato

      562d

      I believe you need to know the person. I don’t see any other way because panic attacks are represented in different forms

      • IceCup

        562d

        @Tomato lol I’m trying to figure this out for myself😭

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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