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  • Hyperarousal Symptoms of PTSD


    A war veteran is likely to be walking around the house & make sure that every window and door is safely locked, to avoid a potential intruder, before finally going to bed, even when the environment is safe & there seems to reasonable cause to do so. These type of actions – together with irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty being concentrated, being easily startled or jumpy, and having a hard time falling or staying asleep, are signs and symptoms of hyperarousal. If you are a partner or a family member of such person, it can be difficult & at times irritating to deal with this type of behavior. Remind yourself this behavior is really a characteristic of post traumatic stress disorder.

    A person suffering from hyperarousal symptoms may attempt to restrict you or other family members’ activities due to the extreme fear that there is danger waiting around the corner. Remind yourself not to be annoyed by this behavior, it will likely go away with treatment & time. You can react to your partner’s or family member’s actions to control the situation by saying something similar to, “It is nice to understand you care well enough to be really worried about me.”

    Irritability & anger are also possible symptoms of hyperarousal. Generally they don’t result in violence & there is nothing to worry about. That said, in case you notice violent behavior, you should stay alert & in extreme cases take the appropriate measures to protect yourself & other family members.

    Medications prescribed for hyperarousal symptoms:

    General hyperarousal symptoms:

    amitriptyline
    phenelzine
    nefazodone
    sertraline (only for women)

    Sleep disturbance symptoms & nightmares:

    benzodiazepines
    phenelzine
    carbamazepine
    trazodone
    clonidine
    zolpidem
    nefazodone

    Symptoms of irritability, impulsiveness, anger outbursts:

    nefazodone
    carbamazepine
    valproic acid

    Symptoms of anger:

    buspirone
    lithium
    fluoxetine
    trazodone

    Symptoms of aggression:

    risperidone

    General autonomic hyperexcitability, exaggerated startle response;

    propranolol
    benzodiazepines
    clonidine
    valproic acid
    buspirone
    carbamazepine




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