What's the difference between a meltdown and a panic attack?

Page 1 of 1 [ 8 posts ] 

heliocopters
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Aug 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 189
Location: American side of Lake Ontario

06 Nov 2009, 10:13 am

Before I was diagnosed, I freaked out at certain situations, but I always called them "panic attacks." For example, I am required to build my own canvas frames for my painting classes, which requires me to use the woodshop. However, the first time I was in there, after about 15 minutes (for a demo), I just started shutting down. I couldn't talk, and all I could think of was cutting off all my fingers and toes and decapitating everyone in the room and then decapitating myself. When we finally ended the demo, a girl I knew found me rolled up in a ball just staring out into space. I was excused to go back to my room, and I started crying and screaming when I got there and started bashing my head against the concrete wall.

Is this a panic attack or a meltdown? Is there a difference?


_________________
I am the wise little owl in the linden trees near the water.


gramirez
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Nov 2008
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,880
Location: Barrington, Illinois

06 Nov 2009, 10:18 am

Well a panic attack is usually, if not always, a result of anxiety. Meltdowns may be related to anxiety, but could also be the result of anger, frustration, confusion, or other. Panic attacks are often described as "freaking out", where Meltdowns are often described as "temper tantrums".


_________________
Reality is a nice place but I wouldn't want to live there


Followthereaper90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Apr 2008
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,131
Location: finland

06 Nov 2009, 10:27 am

panic=OMG Im gonna die
meltdown=OMG u are all gonna die


_________________
followthereaper until its time to make a turn,
followthereaper until point of no return-children of bodom-follow the reaper


Peko
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,389
Location: Eastern PA, USA

06 Nov 2009, 10:30 am

I think you get over a panic attack (I've had a few, recovered quite quickly after they ended) much faster than a meltdown (had a friend who ended up not breathing from 1).


_________________
Balance is needed within the universe, can be demonstrated in most/all concepts/things. Black/White, Good/Evil, etc.
All dependent upon your own perspective in your own form of existence, so trust your own gut and live the way YOU want/need to.


Nightsun
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Sep 2009
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 567
Location: Rome - Italy

06 Nov 2009, 10:48 am

Followthereaper90 wrote:
panic=OMG Im gonna die
meltdown=OMG u are all gonna die


So true :lol:


_________________
Planes are tested by how well they fly, not by comparing them to birds.


go_around
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 31 Dec 2008
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 78

06 Nov 2009, 11:19 am

I've only had a panic attack once or twice, and the main thing I recall is that I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack. I felt terrified for no apparent reason (well, no reason other than thinking I was having a heart attack), but there was no feeling that I wanted to strike out at anyone or hide away. Mainly I wanted to breath and it felt like I couldn't. The meltdown-like experiences I've had have felt much more like it was my brain deciding it just didn't want to function anymore, and f*** anyone who tried to make it, whereas with the panic attacks it was much more physical and I did not have the same sense that my brain was shutting down. You temporarily lose your ability to be rational during a meltdown, which is not so much the case with panic attacks (or at least for me I was still able to recognize that my reactions during the panic attack were not rational, which is not true during meltdown-like experiences I've had).

My friend had some kind of disorder that caused her to have many panic attacks, usually in public places, and I believe her experiences were different from mine in that they involved more of a sense that she just could not be around people when it was happening. In that sense I think panic attacks can mimic meltdowns. The feeling of being unable to breath and the racing mind/heart, however, seem universal to panic attacks and not so universal to meltdowns.



PlatedDrake
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,365
Location: Piedmont Region, NC, USA

06 Nov 2009, 11:43 am

Meltdowns seem to be more self destructive (banging head against a wall, clawing at ones self, etc) whereas a panic attack makes you feel "cramped," or trapped with no way out, but you dont beat yourself up. There are some graphic videos of meltdowns vs panic attacks/tantrums and you'll see how much more physically violent to the person a meltdown is. But i guess it depends, I had a something of a meltdown about 10 years ago, it was completely verbal, and i have no recollection of what i said and what had triggered it to this date. I barely even recall the day it happened. As for panic, i had a case of that about a year ago; it was a socially confined area with a lot of people (cant stand small, crowded places) and a lot of conversations going on at once. Felt like i couldnt breathe or think so i had to go into a quieter area to calm down.


_________________
I'm a man of too many thoughts and not enough words to express them.


cosmiccat
Supporting Member
Supporting Member

User avatar

Joined: 5 Apr 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,835
Location: Philadelphia

06 Nov 2009, 11:45 am

Quoting go_around

Quote:
You temporarily lose your ability to be rational during a meltdown, which is not so much the case with panic attacks (or at least for me I was still able to recognize that my reactions during the panic attack were not rational, which is not true during meltdown-like experiences I've had).

My friend had some kind of disorder that caused her to have many panic attacks, usually in public places, and I believe her experiences were different from mine in that they involved more of a sense that she just could not be around people when it was happening. In that sense I think panic attacks can mimic meltdowns. The feeling of being unable to breath and the racing mind/heart, however, seem universal to panic attacks and not so universal to meltdowns.


Yes, this is what panic attacks are like for me.

During a meltdown I behave badly, throw things sometimes, scream at people, say mean things, totally unaware that my behavior is completely out of line until afterward and then I feel very ashamed. Fortunately, this usually only happens with family members who love me and will forgive me when I apologize. Once or twice it happened at work although not to such an extreme. Very embarrassing.