Overly Alert? Hypervigilance and Your Health


Hypervigilance — the elevated state of constantly assessing potential threats around you — is often the result of a trauma. People who have been in combat, have survived abuse, or have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can exhibit hypervigilance.

PTSD can be caused by a wide variety of incidents. Some of these traumatic events include:

  • Living through a dangerous event
  • Experiencing a serious or frightening injury
  • Seeing another person get seriously hurt or die
  • Feeling horror or extreme fear
  • Experiencing trauma of any kind, and having no support afterward
  • Living through multiple losses or traumas back-to-back

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