Symptoms of PTSD – Hyperarousal

Part of the mental impact of Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder are symptoms of hyperarousal. Hyperarousal
is the inability to moderate emotions due to the automatic
nervous system (fight
or flight response
) being constantly or very easily

Hyperarousal is often refered to as a ‘normal adaptation
to abnormal events’.

Symptoms of hypervigillance can include hypervigilance
or hyperalertness towards body sensations, noises,
strangers or even just being caught unaware. It is
also characterised by exaggerated startle responses,
difficulty falling, staying asleep or insomnia, memory
and difficulty


or focus, emotional
, irritability or outbursts of anger without
seemingly adequate provocation or cause.

Hypervigilance is another marker of hyperarousal.
A person suffering from PTSD, may


sensations and fearful thoughts that another threat
to life or personal integrity is imminent.

After a traumatic
event, the state of hyperarousal may be triggered
by unthreatening objects, people or events this,

combination with the heightened sense

of vigilance
means that the post traumatic stress
disorder is maintained.



the body from relaxing and the mind’s ability to make calm and rational thoughts.
Subsequently, it prevents resolution and adjustment
to the initial traumatic event meaning the symptoms
of PTSD will not ease.


Flashbacks are another symptom of PTSD. They often
arise out of the hyperarousal


in the aftermath
of a trauma. Flashbacks refer to the feelings of ‘re-living
the event’. This can happen either as a ‘flashback’
during times when the individual is awake or as
nightmares when
they are asleep often leading to a fear of sleeping.

Flashbacks are reported to be


vivid and
realistic as though the individual is living through
the experience all over again. Flashbacks may start
in the mind but often


physical sensations
that were


at the time of the trauma including;
fear, perspiration, and pain.

During a flashback,

people with PTSD often
report being able to smell, taste, hear and feel the
same stimuli that was present at the time of the trauma.

Like hyperarousal, unrelated stimuli can
trigger flashbacks. As an example, if car crash


in the rain, a subsequent rainy day might
instigate a flashback.

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