Living With Hypervigilance
Most parents experience a certain amount of hypervigilance when it comes to our children. When you have a new baby, the tiniest whimper can bring you flying out of bed.
You notice small hazards that other people don’t, such as an exposed power outlet or a glass on the edge of a table.
So while hypervigilance is normal in certain situations, It’s not healthy to spend too long in a hypervigilant state. Police officers and soldiers in combat zones often do, which is what puts them at risk for PTSD.
Hypervigilance can disrupt sleep, cause avoidance behaviors, and make you jumpy and anxious. Being on alert all the time is exhausting. It can make you irritable and prone to outbursts. Panic attacks are definitely possible.
Hypervigilance is an aspect of illness and not an illness itself.
If you believe hypervigilance is a problem for you, talk to your doctor about it. That may help shape the direction of your treatment.
Drugs aren’t generally used to treat hypervigilance. Instead, coping techniques and treatment for the illness that caused it are recommended.
Coping techniques can include:
- dealing with stress
- deep breathing
It’s a good idea to remove yourself from situations or environments that ramp up your hypervigilance. However, if this leads to isolation or avoidance behaviors, you may benefit from counseling.
While you may feel hopeless at times, remember that, with time and effort, hypervigilance can be overcome.