7 Tips to Stop Hypervigilence from PTSD | Kati Morton
100 Comments


– Hey everybody, today
we’re gonna talk about how to overcome hypervigilance
as it relates to PTSD. But if you’re new to my channel, welcome. Make sure you’re subscribed and have your notifications turned
on because I put out videos on Mondays and Thursdays and
you don’t wanna miss them. But let’s jump into this
very important topic. First, I wanna define what
hypervigilance really means because I know a lot
of people use the term and not all of us fully
understand what it means, and so hypervigilance is
an extreme or excessive vigilance, meaning the state of being, or abnormally alert, to
potential danger or threat. This can be caused by PTSD,
anxiety, or even paranoia when it’s associated with
another mental illness, and it can cause us to
be extremely sensitive to our surroundings, and
even perceive dangers that aren’t even real. For instance, hearing a car backfire and thinking it’s a gunshot
and hitting the ground. We’ve all heard of those instances, right? Especially in relation to war or someone who’s been in an abusive or really scary situation. That’s what we’re talking about
when we say hypervigilance. Because hypervigilance can cause us to be on high alert for
long periods of time, it can be exhausting to our
body and our adrenal system. And if you don’t know, our adrenal system is responsible for
handling stress on the body and it releases cortisol as a result and a way to kind of help us manage it. And so this can cause
us to be really jumpy or even easily agitated. We can feel constantly on edge and therefore, it can make
sleep each and every night very difficult. If we struggle with hypervigilance and PTSD-like symptoms, we may also find ourselves
using unhealthy coping skills with more frequency. We may be drinking more often or binge eating, or even just zoning out in front of the TV or a video game. Anything that we can do to numb us out so that we don’t have
to feel on edge anymore. But the good news is, we can overcome it. So let’s jump into some of those tips. First, we have to recognize
what our triggers are. And we can do this by
practicing mindfulness. I’ve talked about this in relation to DBT, but when it comes to
PTSD and hypervigilance, it’s good that we are aware
of how our body’s feeling all the time. Is my neck tense, am I gritting my teeth? Are my hands in fists, or
am I completely relaxed? Being aware of how your body feels and being mindful of that allows us to be more sensitive to triggers, things that set us off,
because we can recognize that something shifted
and we feel different. And the better we get at this, the more quickly we’ll be able to identify the triggers and we’ll
be able to recognize the early symptoms before
we’re in a full blown panic and completely hypervigilant and jumpy. If it’s part of an anxiety disorder that is causing us to feel this way, it could be our anticipation
of someone judging us. Or if it’s our PTSD, something
that can be triggering is it could be a loud noise or feeling trapped somewhere,
like we can’t get out quickly. Recognize what causes each feeling for you and where it comes from, and find ways to self soothe until the
hypervigilance feeling goes away. This could be something
like a weighted blanket, calming music, coloring,
calling a good friend, or whatever works for you. The next tip is to be a detective. You know how much I love being
a detective and detecting. But look for any evidence to
support or deny your feelings. For example, if we heard a loud thump and we think there’s a
murderer in our house, maybe we should go out
and investigate, I know, super scary, but stay with me. We might just find that our phone fell off the nightstand, or keys
fell off the dresser. We may find that there’s a
reason for what we heard. And it proves that there’s no burglar and what we’re thinking isn’t true. My next tip is to breathe and take a minute to respond, not react. Hypervigilance is a reaction. We don’t even think about it, it happens. But give yourself a minute to respond. Telling ourselves, it’s
okay to feel this way and not letting it take
complete control over our system is gonna take practice, but it can help to control the symptoms by just breathing and taking a beat. Adding in the self soothing
that we just talked about, you should be able to
slowly get better and better at calming and soothing your system. Assessing all that you’re feeling, knowing that you have
the ability to choose to not be affected by it. It’s a new muscle that we
have to work on building up, but it can help so, so much. Even having a plan in place
for when we’re triggered can help us get started. This could be a safety
plan or a self care plan. List some things that work for you. Write it down, keep it in a place where you can find it, so
it’s there when you need it. My next tip, see a professional, like me. CBT, EMDR, and exposure therapy are all great options if we
struggle with hypervigilance. Don’t worry, I have videos about all of those different types of therapy, and I’ll link that in the description. But seeing a professional and
getting a proper diagnosis, whether it be PTSD or an anxiety disorder or possibly we struggle with psychosis, but seeing someone and
getting that diagnosis will ensure that you receive
the right kind of care. EMDR is obviously best
if our diagnosis is PTSD. And exposure therapy,
we know, works for a lot of anxiety disorders. And CBT can work for psychosis as well as PTSD and anxiety disorders. It has a lot of behavioral techniques that we’ll utilize to
help us better manage. But know that seeing a professional is the first step in
understanding what’s caused your hypervigilance and what
the best treatment could be. And also, medication. I know, not everyone
wants to be on medication, but if your hypervigilance
comes from psychosis, this is gonna need to be
part of your treatment plan. The most common medications
that are used for this are SSRI’s or SNRI’s, otherwise
known as antidepressants, beta blockers because they help calm your system down overall, antipsychotics, and
antianxiety medications like Lexapro or benzodiazepines. Overall, what I want you to hear with this video is that there’s
a lot of options available and help is there. The first step, I believe, is seeing a professional and
getting properly diagnosed because just like when
we’re treating a virus in our system, we need to
know what the name of it is, and what’s caused it in
order to eradicate it. So we need to know where your
hypervigilance is coming from so that we can make it go away for good. This video has been brought to you by the kinions on Patreon. If you would like to support the creation of these mental health videos, click the link in the
description and check it out. And as always, leave in
the comments other tips. Are there things that have worked for you to better manage your PTSD symptoms or any kind of signs of hypervigilance? Let us know and share this video. You never know who it will help. And I will see you next time, bye.

100 thoughts on “7 Tips to Stop Hypervigilence from PTSD | Kati Morton

  1. I’m this way because my ex bestfriend decided to spread lies about me and got a bunch of people who are against me/ hate me. They say they want to fight me, random anonymous accounts are contacting me telling me I’m this or that or even that I should’ve ended my life when I had the chance because I’m just a burden….. so when I go in public I’ve gotten to where I’m very nervous, I even wore colored contacts, wigs, different clothes, because I was afraid someone might hurt me. Same thing with one of my ex’s who told me he had people always watching me after he had taken advantage of me (forced sex/rape) I’m scared of people and I think people are going to hurt me or are watching me/looking at me. It’s so scary. I have meds and therapy and other things tho.

  2. I guess meds are needed sometimes, and one if the best things I've ever learned about anxiety is not to go into denial. Something about telling yourself your freaking out helps, works for me at least.

  3. thx for this ha bisky vid i am slowly catching up in youtubeland but my mom is trying to do whatever she can to make sure i dont work at TYT in 2019 and i wont let her stand in my way

    i have most things already written for cenk i will have to sneak off to the library because if she found out i was typing the resume she would be pissed

    thx for this ha bisky vid i wish i could go to vidcon 2018 but section 12 no fly listed me and i would have been fine cenk telling me i cant get the job until 2019 when its off year instead of playing more games

  4. I think hyper vigilance is a big issue especially in relationships. I have had some damaging things done to me in the past and it has caused me to be not as trusting and by extent hyper vigilant of threats… perceived or otherwise. One of the biggest helping points for me is COMMUNICATION. I had to first become aware of my triggers and what specifically I was over analyzing, and express to my partner what exactly in my past makes me feel this way, how it makes me feel and what would help me calm down and feel safe. Sometimes it can be an awkward conversation, me telling him why i feel like hes cheating on me or why i feel like he's going to leave me, but ultimately if he knows WHERE I'm coming from, its easier for him to avoid certain behaviors if at all possible… and if they're not avoidable, it will at least let him know that if and when they happen, I might need to talk to him for clarification, not to get upset with me, that sometimes just talking it over helps. Communication really IS key.

  5. Is it the same as being a highly sensitive person? I’m sensitive to many things like caffeine, medicine, smells, tastes, heat and cold, noise and pain. But I’m not jumpy or reactive. It’s not the same thing as hypervigilence, is it?

  6. I am terrified of people that “imagine “ things based on personal conclusion of an idea. Always in their best interest. If you tell them to switch exact roles , they will fight you to the point of self interest “receive way more than what you are willing to give. “

  7. No way can I do exposure therapy on the problems I have now.. the little triggers I did and it worked.. the tougher stuff hitss my flashback so hard I can't get out of them by myself I get stuck in my own head it's not for me

  8. I'm really messed up right now. I couldn't do my workout in the gym I had to find a place that way away from people so I could at least breathe; then I went to the store to get my groceries and I couldn't go in. It's ruining my life. I takes me hours and hours to wind down just so i can relax. If I am not off to myself somewhere, I am constantly tense, alert to any noise whatsoever, and any movement is dramatically amplified. I can even feel the stress on my heart… I have the random bouts of twitching where I just 'think' about something bad happening, I become pacified and I can't move. This is in every fucking waking hour of the day, and I am burning out. I even thought about suicide to just to make all this stop. I can't take this anymore. The VA has set up me for an appointment, and I don't even know if I can go.

  9. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, AAD is a therapy is absolute KEY, above all other "methods", even though CBT can be efficient if done right as well.

  10. Singing softly to myself while walking down a street or alley absolutely eliminates the impact of car horns or barking dogs or other loud noises to the point where I have walked down the same alley on multiple occasions and the same dog has either made me jump or not jump depending on whether or not I was singing.

  11. God, hypervigilence is killing me lately. Combine that with social anxiety and executive dysfunction, I'm surprised I ever leave my apartment.

  12. I wear a mouth gaurd and wrist braces when I'm really on edge to avoid gritting my teeth and balling my fists. I look crazy, but it helps a lot.

  13. Hey Kati, my name is Jamie. I really enjoyed this video; I struggle with hypervigilance and racing thoughts. My main issue is CPTSD from years of childhood trauma. I need HELP finding a new therapist. I've had a few different ones, but I'm ready to talk more openly now about my past abuse, and I don't know what kind of person to confide in or where to find them. What do I do?

  14. #KatiFAQ do therapists have to cone up with a diagnosis on the first visit for insurance purposes? My therapist friend said they do and that's why my current therapist may have jumped the gun saying I have ptsd on day one. Does that make the diagnosis less legitimate? Should I take the initial diagnosis seriously?

  15. Exercising helped me a lot but the problem is you always don't have the time or energy to do it but again it helps a lot!
    thank for the video 🙂

  16. PTSD is code word for Satanic abuse. Please stop making stuff sound better and say the truth, Baphomet is the reason behind PTSD. It has more evil influence than anything else in this world.

  17. My mother's physical abuse started about the time of my conception and lasted until I was three, how do I stop that hypervigilance. I probably could have handled just that but that's when the mental abuse from a very sick narcissitic mother began.

  18. #8. Once you have reduced your HV, go back to ALL your previous assumptions about people, states of things, and reexamine them. Nine times out of ten you were dead wrong.

  19. Hi
    So I feel threatened and my head sensations come when I look into pics of faces, especially angry faces, and real people too when I look into their eyes, is that hypervigilance?
    My psychiatrist told me it's social anxiety, and I don't feel shy or anything u feel me?
    And it's a pic of a face why would I feel threatened if its not real?
    Pls answer me Kati cause am really desperate for help. Great video btw keep up.

  20. You are 100% on point. Getting a good service dog and build that bound and let the K9 do its job much like a severe thunderstorm they can detect before it rains the same thing is going on in your head the dog will sense these changes and a train properly give you the proper knowledge so you can start calming yourself down but once the storm hits it's already too late

  21. I personally relate to this from an OCD point of view and the way I learned to overcome it was just like you said, learning to respond but not to react and I did this through CBT.

  22. Omg. I wish I’d found your videos ages ago. I really struggle with this, didn’t even relate it to my PTSD. I just had to get fitted for a tooth guard from gritting my teeth and I have to take meds to sleep. It is exhausting feel like I’m running a marathon everyday I tend to fidget like mad when I’m on edge and overreact to the tiniest noise. My psych team gave me anti psychotics but I find they just take the edge off but really helpful to sleep. I did have EMDR and it helped with one event which really helped but, they said I needed more for the rest so I have to go back on the waiting list.
    Oh and my tip, noise cancelling headphones.
    It takes a bit to not be scared of using them, but thankfully they don’t block out all sound so I can tell myself if it was loud I’d hear it but I’m not jumping at my neighbours banging suddenly because it blocks all that out.

  23. I think of it as chaos thinking. I never stop planning for the worst in every aspect while feeling like this and you’re right that it’s exhausting which leads to making me feel dumber because I’m mentally exhausted as well.

  24. She didn't mention new neighbors that might make your life hell.and guess what you can't get away because you live there too

  25. I am hyper vigilant met 2 stressors and my god I have a headache. I am waiting for the day to end. Got an ed relapse off it too. I ate a bit too much because I was upset. My flat is so peaceful though thank goodness. Id have gone crazy ages ago otherwise. Do any of you find your sleep quality affected.

  26. i'm procrastinating for a long time and in a sea of maladaptive daydreaming, how to deal with this, i can't do simple work for a long time
    i'm not us citizen,how i can get help

  27. Well I’m screwed… 42 medications over 20 years.. Questionable bipolar 2 diagnosis. Nearly died twice due to anaphylactic shock. Decreased liver function… shit i’m damn near PTSD because of that alone! Hell I’d like the $1.3 million I figure I’ve wasted on bullshit Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals, labs over the years…I like that back. Not to mention the character assassination associated with this….I’d like to see some real genetic markers. I’m coming in to some real money next year. I have read through the DSM 4.5 revised would be interesting if some of these people actually rule out the first chapter… that’s never been done in my life so I want to see some genetic testing! It’s also supposed to help with what class of drugs would be most effective. if my body could tolerate taking them. PS I’m not limiting myself to the US. I will go where I need to get this testing done and or therapies What do You think I should test for..it’s been a while since I have read a JAMA

  28. I no longer sleep til late because of this I'm starting to lose hope I can't even get off sleeping pills. I have anorexia and I have very sharp senses

  29. Thank you for this video. I remember even as a child I had repetitive nightmares that caused me to be hyper vigilant , I always had to have the tv on or door open or a white noise to drown out the floorboards cracking in the night. As I got older it went away, but then I had a serious trauma happen to me that caused me to develop pretty severe ptsd( I was shot by a man I didn’t even know for no reason at all) living with my parents helped but now that I’m married and it’s just me and my wife I’m suppose to be the man of the house. My wife is a heavy sleeper and I suffer from insomnia , night terrors and a form of narcolepsy that causes sleep paralysis. At night any creek or noise I hear gets me on high alert and I investigate it because no way in hell will I let someone hurt my wife. I just wish I could sleep better, I find that thunderstorm sounds help so I play them on my Alexa or phone every night or I fall asleep listening to YouTube or a book on tape. Hope this helps someone, I don’t really talk about any of this with anyone cuz I’m suppose to be a “strong man” . Lol

  30. Before I was diagnosed with PTSD (and after) if I started to freak out over a noise I'd heard, I'd pay attention to my dog. If he didn't seem to think anything was up, I knew I was probably fine.
    I also used to wear a necklace that had two charms on it, and if I got nervous or overwhelmed, I'd mess with them, and the noise they made along with the way it felt in my fingers was enough to calm me down and bring me back to reality, so to speak.
    I hope this helps someone!

  31. have some bad trauma envolving robbery and stuff… just today i woke up from a dream where i got shot, it was like 5am and my upstairs neighbour (i live at an apartament) started dropping things on the floor and my brain just freaked out, i could hear every single breeze of air near me, result: didn't get any sleep and i'm super tired.. happens so often

  32. I am super lucky to have been given access to the only treatment I've ever found for PTSD. (NOT a cure) My Dr ordered several & allowed some of her patients to try them out; they're called Alpha-Stimulators. It's a small, handheld device with wires & clips that attach to your earlobes – an electrical current is sent & can be adjusted for frequency & strength. Anyway, I have complex PTSD and this device is the only thing that has ever had a positive impact on my symptoms. When used consistently, I notice improvements in sleep, mood, hypervigilance, agitation/irritability and anxiety.

  33. My cat has helped me tremendously with this and my PTSD. If I hear a noise and I jump up I’ll look for my cat, (especially if I’m in the shower!) if my cat doesn’t jump up or move, I know I’m not in danger because my cat would know if someone else was in my apartment. Most of the time my cat is just chillin and looking at me like “why TF did you just jump up lady” 😂😂

  34. I was diagnosed with PTSD very, very recently. So since I found out I've been struggling so much. I feel sick all the time. I'm here because I don't know what to do. Hyper vigilance has been a part of me for a lot longer than I knew. I'm so scared of this entire disorder. I'm lost if I'm honest

  35. No joke but I'm subscribed to you with notifications on silent because the notification bell causes me too much stress.

  36. got diagnosed with hypervigilence after a QEEG & neuropsych test (among other diagnoses such as suspected brain injury), been using neurofeedback and counseling and the hypervigilence has been decreasing

  37. When I hear noises I never find anything I try telling myself it's all in my head but I'm not sure it is or not

  38. My dad would bang on my door and abuse me verbally, physically and my triggers and the smell of alcohol, vapes, cigarettes and banging sounds and students in my class know that sounds trigger me and in class they make banging sounds in class so that I get flashbacks and panic attacks IN CLASS and they are bullying I told teachers but they dont believe they said that "that's just how kids are, kids are just loud" and they call me dramatic and at this point i wanna kill myself because student are bullying me by triggering my PTSD on purpose and the school wont do anything

  39. I have ADHD and Complex PTSD. I spend 95% of my waking hours in my peripheral vision and find sustained eye contact EXTREMELY hard. My brain just can't accept that some people and places are actually SAFE and it's exhausting.

  40. Sounds like me for sure,. I am traumatized by noise. Really messes me up. Traumas in college trying to study while dealing with partying drunks in a trailer park. Numerous episodes since then. Stress makes me more sensitive to triggers. Other things have caused PTSD as well. I think I am a collector of PTSD. Probably childhood issues in the mix as well. Was picked on a lot by kids.

  41. I have depression, anxiety, tinnitus, asthma and ptsd. Ptsd is 10 times worse than anxiety and I couldnt look at people a few months ago or leave the house. This is a new hell i have entered and the fire is 10 times as hot

  42. What are some of everyones self soothing methods? I'm having a hard time finding one that doesnt involve food, or overloading myself with too much to do. I recognize i do a weird thing too where I buy things and think I enjoy them and then purge them later

  43. WoW, I can't thank you enough Katie. I have been suffering from a serious and embarrassing condition of hypervigilance for 15 years, 15 years of pain. I tried everything, from medication in the past to mindfulness meditation to different techniques, even CBT and nothing worked. I am seeing my level 4 therapist tomorrow which is the highest level of therapy and I can't wait to tell her what really helped me.
    After watching this video I have realized where I was going wrong with me in doing distractions or my breathing technique. The mistake was that I was focusing of my breathing technique when I entered into my hypervigilance mode. This video has changed this for me and realized through Katie that I would need to start my breathing technique before the onset just as soon as you feel fear is approaching. Although all this is new and demanding in the beginning, I thought to myself, would you rather suffer, or live your life focusing on your breath to eliminate fear? The answer is the latter. After all, life is habitual and I would rather exchange my habit of hypervigilance to this.

  44. This can also be caused from chronic stress disorder. Being in a state of stress for so long that you never have really "calmed down" from the ORIGINAL stress way back whenever it occurred and you just have back-to-back stress. Your body in my needs a break from this or you will constantly be on high alert so to speak.

  45. I got a Yorkie dog to help with my PTSD. I was using alcohol to numb out the pain that I was experiencing from PTSD. The nightmares were unbearable and I still get night sweats on and off. I have to take high dosages of medication to help with the depression. It’s debilitating, but meds help tremendously.

  46. This is a very good and relevant topic, but very difficult to practice when you're living in the rape capital of the world. Okay, watching further now.

  47. I think my trigger is doing nothing. Honest to god, if I sit down and go on my phone, my brain never rests – but for some reason it skips over to my trauma memory. I have no idea what to combat that with other than cleaning my house 24/7

  48. I'm completely tapped I pretty much was borderline personality disorder c-ptsd then I took a trip down the rabbit hole hallucinating skeletons and everyone was a vampire. I could say it was a decluttering process and getting to the root of things but I'm definitely drained.

  49. Heyz Kati – i suffer complex trauma from a explosion. I seem to be on red alert alot of the time and have substance abuse as in benzos. I am going rehab to get off the sedatives as in valium and serqual anyways thanks for the videos darl Steve. . PS dont think much off Jake Paul lol

  50. I've had PTSD for several months. The mains symptom/problem that bothers me is I'm always on guard & my eyeballs rotate to the corner of my eye ( I can't look straight) so when I'm sitting down next to someone it's as if I'm looking at them with the corner of my eyes sideways but I can't help it! It's hard to explain. It's not strabism ( even though initally I thought it was). I couldn't explain it to anyone bcoz I didnt know what's it's called. I've now realised it's called being hypervigilant! It's soooo frustrating!

  51. Mine is from living with a narcasist for too long.
    I find that things My boyfriend does can trigger me and then I worry

  52. Its really sad ive developed depression over time but had anxiety forever my depression really just comes and goes but everything together i have this bad habit of gritting my teeth and even clenching just to one side so bad i developed tmj talk about consistently EXHAUSTED

  53. I get bullied at school because of my PTSD and my hypervigilence. People make trigger noises and it really sucks

  54. When I hear a sound in my attic, I get so paranoid. I keep thinking it's a person. I'm not sure how they're getting up there. Maybe it's not a person. I don't know…

  55. , I think I have PTSD I was abused sexually and I grew up in a home where a good portion of my trauma came from even when leaving home I had People steal from me and bully me most of my life and that abuse brought me back to my home of abuse with my mom who financially abused me too it's like I saw my mom in everyone who wronged me

  56. im always afraid of people due to being constantly bullied in kindergarten- high school physically abused by lot of kids there and kids told me they were gonna shoot me ,so im afraid of people going to attack me ect, its hard ppl scare me

  57. After being run down by a vehicle, I suffer this everyday. Any sound behind me sends me into panic. Diagnosed with PTSD and Hypervilliance. It's terrible to live with. You're on guard your whole life. And yes, you drink too much. As you said, lay back, breath, clear your mind and it will slow your heart rate down.

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