Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Autism Meltdown In Adults

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Symptoms And Signs Of High

An Adult Meltdown (Autistic Spectrum)

High functioning autism is not actually an official medical diagnosis, nor is it an official medical term. This term is mostly used when talking about autism or autism spectrum disorder in general. Contrary to what most people think, this is not just found in children, signs of high-functioning autism in adults is also quite common.

Autism Spectrum Disorder can be found in all ages, races, genders, ethnic groups, racial groups, and socioeconomic groups. Autism is generally characterized by communication and social challenges, and repetitive behaviors.

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The Difference Between An Autistic Meltdown And Autistic Burnout:

In many ways an autistic meltdown mimics burnout. However, meltdowns happen more frequently during childhood and can last for minutes to hours. Autistic meltdowns can be external and include aggressive behavior, agitation, or extreme emotional responses. In many ways experiencing an autistic meltdown is like riding a wave. Once youve caught the wave, you just have to ride it out. Furthermore, autistic meltdowns happen to individuals on the autism spectrum with any level of cognitive ability. As an autistic person ages, meltdowns may become more of an internal process where they shut down. The individual retreats inside to cope with distress and may become nonverbal, withdrawn, or emotionless.

The major difference between an autistic meltdown and burnout is that burnout is usually longer lasting. In most cases, it lasts for weeks or even months. I have known many individuals who have had to quit their jobs or school or go on medical leave because they are so worn down.

Autism And Anxiety In Adults: Next Steps

1Rosenn, Daniel. Is It Aspergers or ADHD?. Aspergers/ Autism Network. .

2Sarris, Marina. Anxietys Toll on People with Autism. Interactive Autism Network .

3Sarris, Marina. Anxietys Toll on People with Autism. Interactive Autism Network .

4Burchi, Elisabetta, Hollander, Eric. Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

5Sarris, Marina. What Anxiety Treatments Work for People With Autism. Interactive Autism Network

6Burchi, Elisabetta, Hollander, Eric. Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

7Anxiety in Autistic Adults. National Autistic Society.

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The Grander The Effort The Harder The Fall

Only a few years ago, on New Years Eve, I attended a party at a friends house. It took me hours to get dressed. I wanted to match the mood of the evening. I had to blend in. I prepared conversation starters and imagined the food and drinks I would ingest. By the time I pulled up at the house, I felt like my mask was secure. I believed I would have a good time.

Nearly twenty people crowded under one roof to ring in the New Year. I took shots with friends and strangers. I played board games. I made new acquaintances. Everything seemed to be going so well.

Then, I overheard a nearby conversation. A young white man was talking about some people he knew from Nicaragua. Only he didnt call the Latin American country Nicaragua. He said, Niggeragua.

I am African American. I was stunned by this mans use of the slur. Even more, his companions only laughed at his words. Astonished and offended, I confronted the man. Did you just say what I think you said? I asked. He didnt deny it.

I quickly ejected myself from the situation. Stumbling to a nearby friend, I recounted the story. She herself was tipsy from one too many drinks. Without my knowledge, she went up to the man and told him off. In retaliation, the mans girlfriend started screaming at me in front of the entire gathering.

Youre trying to destroy our friendships! she shouted. You think youre so special, but you dont even belong here.

Prevention Strategies And Treatments

Pin on Autism

Contemporary meltdown treatment and prevention strategies include various therapy and medical techniques. Many approaches incorporate behavioral and physical therapies to help with bodily autonomy and emotional control. Before any treatment or prevention plans are created, your patient/loved one will likely need to complete a Functional Behavior Assessment or a similar screening process to identify the functionality of meltdown symptoms.

Creating a behavior log to find patterns in context and surroundings leading up to meltdowns can help the evaluation. Behavior logs also assist parents and caretakers in understanding signs leading up to meltdowns. Learning these timelines allows greater insight into what sensory issues or comorbid conditions may cause meltdowns. Once the context is better understood, you can begin to practice calming techniques before meltdowns occur and teach your loved one or patient to identify their feelings before they happen.

Treating underlying comorbid conditions associated with autism is also essential. Sensory or emotional issues are often the result of uncommunicated pain or discomfort related to such conditions . If you have tried cognitive behavioral therapy and meltdown severity or prevalence hasnt decreased, consider speaking with a gastroenterologist, psychologist, or other medical specialists to address underlying issues.

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Feeling Overwhelmed In A New Environment

There are perhaps several ways a new environment can trigger a meltdown. Its a change in routine, may be full of new people, can cause overwhelming anxiety and might require communication with new people who may not understand neurodiversity. Its therefore no surprise many autistic people say a new environment can lead to a meltdown.

Not understanding when I have truly done or said something wrong/offensive or if the person who is telling me off is just a jerk. Bullying affects me badly. Emotional/mental overwhelm when in new environments trying to cope with it without showing that I am struggling. Others can help by thinking before they speak, and be aware of their prejudices. Andie K.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of An Aspergers Diagnosis

The advantages of having an accurate, reliable diagnosis of Aspergers are many. It can eliminate the worry that a person is severely mentally ill. It can support the idea that the person has genuine difficulties arising from a real, legitimate condition. Other people, once they are aware that the person has Aspergers are often able to be more accepting and supportive. A new, and more accurate, understanding of the person can lead to appreciation and respect for what the person is coping with.

Knowing someone has Aspergers opens up avenues to resources for help as well as access to programs to improve social inclusion and emotional management. Acceptance by friends and family members is more likely. An acceptable explanation to other people about the persons behavior is now available leading to the possibility of reconciliation with people who have had problems with the persons behavior.

In the workplace and in educational settings, a diagnosis of Aspergers can provide access to helpful resources and support that might otherwise not have been available. Employers are more likely to understand the ability and needs of an employee should that employee make the diagnosis known. Accommodations can be requested and a rationale can be provided based on a known diagnosis.

Are there disadvantages to a diagnosis of Aspergers? Yes, but the list is shorter than the list of advantages.

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Our Best Strategies For Dealing With Autism And Anger

Have you ever wondered about autism spectrum disorder and its relationship to anger? What can cause anger outbursts in children with autism? How can we help children with autism deescalate from anger? We will answer these questions and more, but first, lets consider autism symptoms.

The symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder vary greatly among individuals. In addition, these symptoms fall along a spectrum, with some children demonstrating more severe symptoms compared to others. Generally speaking, individuals with autism will experiences some degree of the following symptoms:

  • Language difficulties-including language delays and repetition of specific words or phrases
  • Learning difficulties
  • Trouble with attention and problem-solving
  • Emotional difficulties, including depression, anger, and anxiety

Anger is often an emotion that is associated with autism spectrum disorder. Most children with autism do not express their anger in the same way as typically-developing peers. This anger can be directed towards others, or towards themselves . Anger may manifest into aggression and could include hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing objects.

There are several reasons children with autism may experience intense anger or aggression, including:

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What Meltdowns Feel Like To Me As An Autistic Adult

Do You Know The Signs Of An Autistic Meltdown? | BBC The Social

This cant be said enough an autistic meltdown is not a tantrum!

Sure, some of the outward exhibited behaviors may appear the same, but the causation of an autistic meltdown is often vastly misinterpreted.

So whats the difference?

A tantrum is intentional, manipulative behavior someone exhibits in order to get something they want that they are told they cant have. If they are given that thing, the unpleasant behavior ceases. On the contrary, there is nothing manipulative about an autistic meltdown, nor is it in any way intentional.

An autistic meltdown is a physiological, autonomous response caused by prolonged exposure to cognitive distress, conversational difficulties, social pressures and anxieties, transitions, sudden and unexpected change, and sensory integration issues. Any one or any combination of these stresses can overload an autistic persons mental and physical abilities to cope or compensate.

Once an autistic meltdown begins, there is nothing that can be given to the individual to stop it, as they were never seeking anything in the first place. It has to run its course until its over, and the only thing that will end it is the passage of time.

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A Note On Neurodivergent People

Theres no cure for autism, and many people in the autistic community dont feel the need for one. Instead, they recognize autism as a neurotype rather than a disability or condition that needs to be cured.

Neurodivergent folks, including autistic people, may communicate in different ways. For instance, avoiding eye contact and fidgeting may help them concentrate better or feel more comfortable in conversation it doesnt always mean disinterest.

Neurodivergent individuals may also respond to sensory stimuli differently than neurotypical people. These responses may include autism meltdowns, which are usually out of the autistic persons control.

Managing Autism And Anxiety With Medication

Since anxiety is a distinct disorder, it can be treated separately from other domains of ASD. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers are used to treat anxiety in the general population. Few studies have been done discerning whether these drugs are equally effective in adults with ASD. A small study5 from the Cochrane Collaboration found that the drug Luvox may help treat obsessive-compulsive behaviors in adults with autism, and fluoxetine may likewise help with anxiety. The conclusion was that these drugs should be used on a case-by-case basis to treat OCD and anxiety in adults with ASD.

Other studies6 on fluoxetine in adults and children with ASD demonstrated improvement in repetitive behaviors, but a controlled trial showed that citalopram worked no differently than a placebo in reducing repetitive behaviors. Also, some patients had negative behavioral effects, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and insomnia. Medical professionals should keep in mind that patients with ASD may be sensitive to low doses of drugs. These adults present significant variations in treatment responses and adverse reactions to medications.

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Identifying Emotions As A Step Towards Managing Moods

Autistic children and teenagers can find it hard to identify emotions. They might have difficulty telling different emotions apart for example, your child might feel all negative or unpleasant emotions as anger.

If autistic children and teenagers can learn to be more aware of their emotions, this can help them change and manage their moods. So the first step in handling emotions is identifying and naming emotions.

To help your child identify different emotions, you could create a social story about a particular emotion.

Heres an example of a social story about happiness:

  • When something good happens to me, I feel happy.
  • Some things that make me happy are playing computer games and swimming.
  • When I feel happy, I smile and laugh.

Pointing out your childs emotions can also help your child recognise them. You could say, Youre laughing and smiling you must be happy, or I can see that youre frustrated. It must be frustrating to not be able to play that bit right on the guitar. Try starting with emotions like happiness, fear and anger. Then move on to more complicated emotions, like jealousy, sympathy or embarrassment. You could also try pointing out emotions in family members or characters in movies.

Drawing a picture of the body to show where people feel emotions can help some autistic teenagers. Another idea is for you and your child to look at pictures of faces that show different emotions.

Heres how it might work with anger on a scale of 1-5:

Things To Avoid Doing

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Meltdowns

If youre neurotypical, and a meltdown occurs in front of you, you may get scared, embarrassed, and worried, and you may have the urge to flee the scene with your screaming autistic loved one in tow.

First, these are normal human responses to being startled like this. Us autistic people are startled by neurotypical people all the time because we both see and process the world so differently.

It goes both ways.

However, Im here to tell you that if you avoid doing the following during a meltdown, things will go much smoother, and you will be far less likely to make the meltdown worse and/or traumatize your autistic loved one.

So heres what NOT to do when your autistic loved one is having a meltdown:

  • Dont yell at the person having the meltdown.
  • This is so critical. I understand how overwhelmed you must feel when a meltdown starts to happen, but do not yell. Yelling may release your frustration for a few seconds, but it can devastate the autistic person, and it will lead to a worsening of the meltdown. Your autistic loved one is already at capacity for how much sensory input they can manage, and yelling at them will send them right over the edge.

  • Dont center yourself and your feelings about the meltdown.
  • Dont make a sudden grab for the autistic person.*
  • Dont threaten to punish them if they dont stop.
  • Dont take away comfort items they are using to self-regulate.
  • Dont ask questions or expect explanations.
  • Whats your problem??

    She did.

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    The Danger Of Being Undiagnosed

    When we finally arrived at the trolley station, we discovered that we had missed the last trolley. We were stranded. My fear struck like lightning.

    I will never know exactly what happened that night.

    I remember screaming. I remember my sisters terrified expression. But my meltdown was so severe, I actually blacked out. Even though I appeared conscious, I have no memory of anything I said or did. Only my sister knows.

    Eventually, a family member picked us up and took us home. By that time, the anger had subsided. A deep-seated sorrow took its place. I locked myself in my bedroom. No one came to check on me.

    In the end, I took over seventy-five pills in an attempt to stop the emotional pain. I wound up in a hospital for four days. No one knew I was autistic. No one really understood what had caused my suicide attempt. Including me.

    Sometimes, when an autistic person is left unsupported, a meltdown can have catastrophic results. There are ways to help an autistic person through these states of crisis. However, every autistic person is different. We have different needs. Even so, there are some general guidelines for supporting autistics during a meltdown.

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    Dealing with ADHD meltdowns in adults isnt easy for anyone, but with patience and persistence, it can be done. Using strategies to deal with them at the moment as well as to prevent them will improve your quality of life. APA Reference Peterson, T. . How to Deal with ADHD Meltdowns in Adults, HealthyPlace. 1. Do not try to reason with them When your child is having a meltdown, the logical part of their brain isnt working, so it is better to wait until the peak moment has passed. 2. Avoid making demands Sometimes too many demands can actually cause the meltdown in the first place. AdultMeltdowns and Shame. While Neurodivergence isnt new, the cultural understanding of it is relatively novel. Count back a couple decades and people didnt know much about Autism and ADHD. When you had a meltdown as a kid, people just assumed you were a brat in those days. And, sadly, our parents and teachers reacted accordingly by. On the more extreme end of the continuum, the adult in meltdown may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. In both examples, the adult often.

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    Is There Something Wrong With Me Understanding Autistic Burnout

    March 10, 2021 by Dr. Tasha Oswald

    Many individuals, especially women, with high-functioning autism receive a diagnosis after going through autistic burnout and having a neuropsychological evaluation. As with many things regarding autism and neurodiversity, autistic burnout is often misunderstood. So, today I want to take a moment to discuss autistic burnout in more detail.

    Do You Have Aspergers

    An example of an adult autistic meltdown.

    Perhaps you are a spouse wondering if your partner has Aspergers, a friend, acquaintance or colleague of someone you suspect has it, or perhaps you wonder if you might have it yourself. How would you know?

    In this chapter, I will explain how the process of diagnosing someone for Aspergers is usually carried out, both in general terms and the specific way I undertake a diagnosis. I will describe the types of information that is sought in an assessment for Aspergers and how that information is collected. I will answer the question of how accurate a diagnosis is, the confidence one can have in a diagnosis of Aspergers and I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a diagnosis.

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