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Hyperarousal: What to know

People with post-traumatic stress disorder may develop hyperarousal, which is a collection of symptoms. What are the symptoms of hyperarousal and how can individuals deal with them?

Anxiety is common in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This might make them more sensitive and unduly reactive to stimuli and occurrences in their environment. Hyperarousal refers to a condition of enhanced sensitivity.

We’ll look at the signs and symptoms of hyperarousal, as well as how to deal with it, in this post. We also look at ways individuals might assist loved ones who are suffering from hyperarousal manage better.

feeling jumpy
Signs of hyperarousal include feeling jittery, finding it really hard to focus solely, and being impulsive.

Hyperarousal symptoms

One of the symptoms of PTSD is hyperarousal. Hyperarousal may cause a person to:

find it difficult to go to sleep or remain asleep.
experience anger and quickly lose their temper.
find it difficult to focus.

  • feel constantly on-guard (hypervigilance)
  • be a little more impulsive than normal
  • feel as though their muscles are stiff in a different way than normal
  • more readily experience pain
  • feel as though their heart is racing a little quicker than normal
  • feel jittery and easily startled
  • Breathe faster or more slowly than normal.
  • have flashbacks of a horrific incident

Causes

Hyperarousal may be caused by a variety of factors

A traumatic event causes PTSD, which is a mental health disease. PTSD may be caused by a variety of circumstances, including:

  • domestic abuse
  • a robbery
  • a sexual assault
  • childhood abuse
  • a car crash
  • military experiences
  • a fire
  • a natural disaster
  • a terrorist attack

Many additional incidents may raise the likelihood of acquiring PTSD. Not everyone who has been through a stressful incident, however, will develop PTSD or hyperarousal.

How to cope

Experiencing hyperarousal symptoms, as well as other PTSD symptoms, may be upsetting. If a person detects these symptoms in themselves or someone else, they should consult a physician.

A person suffering hyperarousal may act in a self-destructive manner at times. This may involve things like driving too fast or drinking too much. It is critical for persons suffering from hyperarousal to get therapy in order to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

A person with hyperarousal might attempt a variety of coping tactics in addition to the therapies that their doctor may offer. The following are some strategies for dealing with various hyperarousal symptoms:

Having trouble sleeping

  • If you have hyperarousal and are having trouble sleeping, consider the following:
  • not consuming alcohol in the 6 hours before bed
  • exercising during the day
  • creating a calm atmosphere in the bedroom
  • sticking to regular bedtime and waking times
  • avoiding naps during the day
  • avoiding caffeine after midday
  • getting up to do something relaxing when unable to sleep for more than 30 minutes, then returning to bed once drowsy
  • reducing screen time, such as watching TV or using a laptop, in the bedroom
  • wearing an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and sound
  • practicing deep breathing before bed
  • practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga

Angry

a man crying
Weeping as a form of release may assist in coping with anger.

Hyperarousal may make it difficult to maintain control over one’s emotions. The following coping techniques may be beneficial:

  • Instead of shouting, cry as a release
  • doing vigorous exercise or dancing
  • punching a pillow or something else soft
  • talking to an empathetic friend or family member
  • writing things down
  • creating expressive artwork
  • practicing deep breathing
  • practicing mindfulness, meditation, or yoga

Trouble concentrating

Individuals with hyperarousal who have trouble focusing may benefit from the following strategies:

  • trying to improve sleep quality
  • practicing mindfulness exercises
  • removing or turning off distractions, such as their mobile phone
  • improving concentration by working in short bursts and gradually increasing these periods by 5 minutes at a time
  • focusing on one task at a time

What can you do to support a loved one who suffers from hyperarousal?

helping hands image
An individual may help a loved one suffering from hyperarousal by hearing to them and without responding inappropriately to their symptoms.

Making a loved one aware of the following coping methods is one approach to help someone who is suffering hyperarousal.

Offering to attempt some of these practices with them, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation, may also be beneficial.

It’s crucial not to overreact to any hyperarousal-related behaviour. Being available to listen in a nonjudgmental, empathic manner may also be beneficial.

The most crucial thing you can do to support a loved one who is suffering hyperarousal is to make sure they’ve seen a doctor and gotten an accurate diagnosis. This will guarantee that patients get the appropriate therapy.

Treatment

There are a variety of hyperarousal therapies available to assist patients control their symptoms:

  • Exposure therapy: This sort of treatment allows a person with PTSD to relive terrible events and memories in a secure setting, reducing anxiety and panic.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This is used in conjunction with exposure treatment and involves eye exercises that change how a person responds to a certain memory.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is used in conjunction with exposure treatment and involves eye exercises that change how a person responds to a certain memory.

To assist treat hyperarousal and other PTSD symptoms, the doctor may prescribe the following drugs in addition to these therapies:

Conclusion

Hyperarousal is a typical sign of PTSD, which may be a long-term disease. People may, however, adopt a variety of coping skills to lessen the effect hyperarousal has on their everyday lives.

With the correct therapy, medications, and continuing support, PTSD may be effectively treated. If someone is having hyperarousal or PTSD symptoms, they should see a doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Furthermore, if someone is worried about a coworker, friend, or family who may be suffering from hyperarousal or PTSD, they could urge them to get medical help or even volunteer to accompany them.

Similarly, if a person is concerned about a colleague, friend, or relative who may be experiencing hyperarousal or PTSD, they should encourage the person to speak with a doctor or even offer to accompany them.

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