The symptoms of hyper-vigilance are commonly seen in patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. They can also be found in patients diagnosed with other mental health conditions including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and schizo-affective disorder. But what is hypervigilant personality disorder?
A hypervigilant personality is overly responsive to all sensory stimulation and displays an unhealthy interest in the thoughts, behavior, comments and interests of others. The primary purpose of such behavior is to detect threats in the immediate environment and the patient ends up feeling that they have to be on their guard, every moment of every day. Unsurprisingly, being in a permanent state of hyper vigilance can leave sufferers anxious and exhausted.
What is hypervigilant personality?
Patients suffering from hypervigilant personality problems are likely to have issues with many areas of their life as they have learned to be wary about literally everything that happens around them; so much so that nothing is allowed to escape their attention, no matter how benign. The condition can cause difficulties with relationships, everyday social interaction, and even cause paranoid thoughts in the worst cases.
What causes the symptoms of a hypervigilant personality?
A single traumatic event or the cumulative effects of many upsetting or unpleasant events usually cause the symptoms of hypervigilant personality. Typical examples of root causes of hypervigilance syndrome include frequent ridicule, a perceived humiliation, or the rejection of achievements. The disorder can also be caused by a single traumatic event, the memory of which has been suppressed deeply within the subconscious mind.
A large part of the symptoms of hypervigilant behavior is rooted in the subconscious flight or flight response to a perceived threat, so even when the patient knows they are completely safe from any threats, their subconscious mind still retains the fear and symptoms remain.
What are the symptoms of a hypervigilant personality?
People showing the signs of hypervigilant personality syndrome often have problems sleeping. They might also spend hours overanalysing every little comment or remark made by an acquaintance to try and find a hidden meaning. Hypervigilant people become very bogged down in the trivial details of everyday life and can waste huge amounts of personal energy on seemingly unimportant things.
Some patients suffer symptoms so severe that they are unable to get to sleep, and if they do manage to fall asleep, they have difficulties staying asleep. Patients can become so obsessed with monitoring their environment for potential threats to their safety that they often become isolated and cut off from friends and family. Other symptoms can include anxiety attacks and abnormal levels of arousal.
It can be very tiring spending time in the company of a hypervigilant person, and if you are in a relationship with somebody exhibiting these characteristics, you may soon become very frustrated and angry.
What is the treatment for hypervigilant personality disorder?
Patients suffering from the symptoms of hypervigilant personality disorder will normally be treated using cognitive behavioral therapy to try and ascertain the root cause of the problems. For those living with someone suffering from hypervigilant personality disorder, it is very important that they seek effective support from mental health professionals.