Hypervigilance is defined as being in a state of increased alertness and extreme sensitivity to surroundings. While increased alertness can expose hidden dangers, oftentimes these hazards are not real. The anxiety and stress of being constantly alert can have detrimental effects on your mental health. Treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms of paranoia to lead a full and serene life.

Physical, Behavioral, and Emotional Symptoms

Physical symptoms of hypervigilance are exhibited in sweating, increased heart rate, and shallow breathing. You may feel exhausted and fatigued if these symptoms are left untreated. Behavioral symptoms include skittishness, prone to overreacting when exposed to sudden loud noise or knee jerk reactions. Emotionally you may experience an increased level of anxiety and/or panic, coupled with irritability or anger. You may also be afraid of judgment which can lead to doubt about the severity of your symptoms.

Common Causes of Hypervigilance

Hypervigilance can present as a symptom of a variety of mental illnesses. Generalized anxiety will exacerbate hypervigilant behavior in new situations or unfamiliar environments. The same can be said for social anxiety if around people you do not know or are unfamiliar with. If you feel threatened and a PTSD response is triggered, you may feel that staying on high alert will prevent you from danger. Common triggers that lead to a hypervigilant response include feelings of entrapment, abandonment, judgment, and distress.

Treatment Options

To get to the root of the problem, it is important to identify the cause(s) of your hypervigilance symptoms to ensure you are seeking the right course of treatment. One therapy option available is cognitive behavioral therapy which helps by identifying the catalyst of your symptoms and how to deal with them. Another option is exposure therapy to slowly face your fears and memories of the trauma to better manage it. 

In addition, prescription medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, and anti-anxiety medications are available to help you. If you are currently experiencing episodes of hypervigilance consistently, it may be time to seek help. Accepting treatment as an option toward recovery means taking control of your mental health and the direction of your life.

Hypervigilance is an increased awareness of your surroundings. This can cause you to be fearful of anyone and anything around you if left untreated. Living in fear on a daily basis can be paralyzing and make life difficult or disheartening. At Alta Loma, we understand what a burden it can be to feel constantly on edge. Our treatment team of professionals is equipped with the tools to help you lead a happy and healthy life. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we provide individualized therapy, medication management, therapeutic recreational activities, and a sense of community coupled with a long-term continuum of care. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 for more information.