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What is the meaning of hypervigilance?

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Hypervigilance is a hyperarousal state where you are constantly scanning your surroundings for any signs of danger. When you are hypervigilant, you are jumpy and easily startled, where sudden and loud noises make you jump and prepare to fight or run. Hypervigilance often accompanies PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), after you experience a life-threatening trauma. Hypervigilance then continues to make sure you don't experience that trauma again. However, it becomes maladaptive when there is no further danger in your environment, yet you continue to be on alert for it and spend much of your time preparing and anticipating for it. Also, your recollections of the trauma only serve to maintain you hypervigilance, as your nightmares and flashbacks of the trauma make it seem like the trauma is continuing to occur.

answered Dec 7, 2015 by drcarlo (294,430 points)