A state of on guarding oneself constantly tensed and partially aware of what is happening around the person known as Hypervigilance.
Many on growing researches suggest Hypervigilance as one of the side effects of fibromyalgia as it also has common symptoms of sensory distribution and overload. The idea behind the reason of such suggestions describes that the brain is active and aware of things including noises, pain stimulation, general activities of the body and bright lights, etc. This reasoning backup the things as our body felt so much pain in such conditions which generally do not experience by a normal person. It also gives the idea that why people are sensitive to chaotic environments, bright light, and noise and so on.
How does Hypervigilance work?
The person suffering from Hypervigilance, not only get their attention towards the annoying things but also they are unable to divert themselves from them. For example, if in another room, someone is producing a beeping sound, the person will notice it right away and got distracted causing the agitation in the person until the sound stops. The same situation occurs when some fabric rubs on the skin or a waistband give pressure on the skin. The feeling gives the signal of a threat to the brain and the brain needs to fix it which causes the physiological response which in such cases, goes extreme than normal.
In many cases, Hypervigilance connected to anxiety. In one of the studies related to fibromyalgia suggests that a person can be a patient of Hypervigilance with or without anxiety.
Experiences during Hypervigilance
It is a natural phenomenon that our brain perceives and gathers information about the surroundings, which we are not usually aware of. A lot of information and signals are coming to our brain that bombards the information, which filtered out with a system and the irrelevant information does not get to the brain.
The identification of the problem by the brain is important. The things that brain considers threat get your extra attention. The response varies from person to person according to the concept learned by the brain, of danger.
Let us take an example to understand this concept. Arachnophobia, people having fear of spiders. The person who is phobic of the spiders, will the first person to notice a bug crawling in the room on a carpet. The brain of such persons is always alert especially where spiders can see frequently. Whenever they saw a spider, the person got panic and run away from it, hides and wants to cry. In the case of fibromyalgia, the over-stimulating response of the person towards the environment is in the same manner.
I also have a personal experience to share as I was in a chaotic, relatively small store to some stuff, when the person played thrash and very loud music with rapid beats, which make me go panic. Luckily, I was alone; my husband understood the situation and told me to left the store so I could not hear the music. I quickly get out of the store, sat down in a corner and closed my eyes; take long breathes until the feeling of danger gets better and I cope with my anxiety attack. Therefore, I can understand the people who have a fear of spiders very well.
How to live with Hypervigilance person
In parents, some amount of Hypervigilance can observe in them regarding their children. Parents of a newborn can fly out of bed even it is the tiniest cry of the baby they heard.
The hazards like open power sources, glass or narrow edge of a table, which a person does not consider normally to bother.
It is okay to be Hypervigilance in such situations but it is not good for a long time. It is hazardous to stay in a hypervigilant state for a long time. Soldiers or police officers in a combat or war zone often got into it which, unfortunately, put them at risk for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Side Effects of Hypervigilance
It can cause avoidance behavioral habits, disrupted sleep, and makes the person anxious or nervous. Keeping the brain on alert all the time is an exhausting job. It makes the person disposed of outbursts and irritable. Panic attacks are common and possible in such a person.
Hypervigilance is not an illness by itself but, and the aspect of some illness.
If your Hypervigilance is becoming a problem for you, you need to see your doctor; this will help you to shape the direction for better treatment of your fear.
Generally, drugs are not used for the treatment of hypervigilance. Coping techniques and the right treatment of the illness needs to identify which is causing the Hypervigilance in the person.
Hacks to overcoming Hypervigilance
- Stress control
- Deep breath technique
It is the best practice for you to remove yourself from the situation causing you Hypervigilance. Nevertheless, sometimes it could lead you to avoidance and isolation; Hypervigilance can be minimized through counseling. You just need to keep in mind that Hypervigilance can be overcome.