Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
pink1975

Exaggerated Startle Reflex????

Recommended Posts

This morning I took a too hot bath while getting ready for work and ended up throwing myself into a bit of an episode. I had presyncope symptoms but I still got in the car and drove to work. (Not a smart idea, I know). Anyhow, every single car that drove by caused me to feel startled, I actually jumped and each one gave me an adrenaline rush and a zappy electrical like feeling, elevating my heart rate of course and making the whole situation worse. I made it to work by talking myself through it, and am feeling much better after my beta blocker and a xanax (not anxiety, since I actually didn't feel anxious just tachy and fainty...lol), I personally have a heck of a time going to the movies because the screen is so big and the sound is so loud. I have to xanax myself to make it through (hence I actually don't go to many movies). Does anyone else get overwhelmed and easily startled by outside stimuli? Is this a POTS/dysautonomia thing or is there possibly something else causing it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is an issue for me. Every day, all day. I do not get a panic startle, but it is exaggerated and uncomfortable.

This is a symptom that came early, and has progressed a bit. Also a sound sensitivity. I knew there was something wrong before there was anything wrong. If that makes any sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also experience something like this at times. Jumpy feeling or startled for no reason, happens when completely calm, not feeling anxious.

Do you sometimes run into things, too? I wonder if it's connected in some weird way. The body overreacting in one area causing other areas to under react? Or maybe it's just the brain fog and unsteadiness...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a bad time with my body overreacting. I was told that it was caused by my dysautonomia and prescribed an ssri to calm things down. I was quite happy to try as I really felt embarrassed by the shrieks and movements my body involuntarily made. Apart from that the ssri also works on keeping my heart rate low so I say it's win win to me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an exaggerated startle reflex to a lot of things also. Mainly the phone ringing and hubby's snoring. I did go through a time when I drove on the interstate, I had the feeling that every car that I passed was going to swerve into me. I finally taught myself that not every car was going to hit me and to just calm down about it and keep my eyes looking straight ahead. My neuro prescribed Lexapro once and I only took one dose. I felt like my startle was increased and it made me urinate a lot! So I felt like it was making me more anxious. My GP doc later prescribed Cymbalta and I never took it cause I was afraid it would cause the same symptoms. I have not tried to go to the movie theater but I have thought that it might be a little too much for me. I sometimes have to turn away from the tv if a show has too much action going on, or flashing lights. So, I don't know--does this mean we have too much adrenaline floating around in our systems???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the theories related to dysautonomia is that there is "excess sympathetic drive" occurring in the nervous system. It would seem logical therefore to assume that we would be more "on edge" and faster to react to any perceived threat (real or imagined).

I know I frequently have big startle reactions that are disproportionate to what's going on around me. Sometimes (for example) I will hear my husband walking upstairs and know he's coming, but if the door opening to the bedroom is abrupt or too loud, I'll still screech and jump and get that adrenaline rush. It drives me nuts because I knew he was coming so it wasn't a surprise and shouldn't have caused that kind of reaction but even though my rational brain knows all that, my sympathetic system is still in overdrive and ready to run no matter what.

On the positive side, I have really fast reflexes so if I knock something over, I almost always catch it before it falls or spills. People look at me and say "wow, that was impressive".

It seems to go in cycles though. When I'm more prone to being startled, my reflexes are faster. Other times, I'm a total clutz, running into everything, knocking over thing, dropping everything and I notice during those times that I don't have as much of the startle reaction thing going on then either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can relate! My reflexes are brisk upon testing. I startle easily, especially if something jumps out of my peripheral vision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Count me in. The best I've come up with for a non-pharmaceutical way to address this for myself is to try to stay in a state of meditative breathing as much as possible. By practicing it often and regularly, I have been able to reduce the frequency of being startled and the severity of it's effect on me when it happens. Still, I am startled more frequently and by things that other people wouldn't bat an eye at. I wasn't always like this...there was definitely an acute onset of this symptom with the rest of my pots symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Katybug on the meditation train. It helps a lot. I also bought a book called Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue by Kathryn R Simpson which made a lot of sense to me. I felt for me that it was concomitant with my POTs/Dysaut. It talked a lot about the startle issue, adrenaline etc....

The medical community has not come around to the thought of Adrenal Fatigue and in bringing it up to a doctor early in my search for answers I was told I was nuts and it's dangerous to believe in AF.

I thought the book was helpful and easy to read. Meditation has helped as well. Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have an exaggerated startle reflex to a lot of things also. Mainly the phone ringing and hubby's snoring. I did go through a time when I drove on the interstate, I had the feeling that every car that I passed was going to swerve into me. I finally taught myself that not every car was going to hit me and to just calm down about it and keep my eyes looking straight ahead.

I experience the same thing, dkd. My husband snoring someone gets me, but other loud noises don't faze me at all. Driving to work is nearly impossible because it involves the highway during rush hour. Even when I'm in the passenger seat, I imagine every car we pass will change lanes and side-swipe us. But I know anxiety is a big factor here, because I'm much worse when my hubby drives, because he is always lane-jockeying and speeds. My driving anxiety (and my POTS, really) started when he quit his job 1.5 yrs ago and instead of driving to work together, I was suddenly doing the scary drive on my own.

The one thing I can't explain is loud noises and flashing lights. I watched the Grammy's this past weekend and there was so much strobe-lighting. Perhaps I have an anxiety that I will have a seizure? Never have had one, though. I still haven't been to a movie theater since I got sick because I worry about loud noises and flashing lights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am just going to mention that my anxiety level is up today. I was not like this before POTS (or whatever it is), but I am now. Now is it because of the POTS or has POTS "gotten into my head"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gjensen,

Anxiety or anxiety-type symptoms come with the disorder. They wax and wane from day to day and I have found that once they start, they come on with a vengeance. For example if I get startled really bad in the morning such as by an alarm clock, I tend to have more anxiety symptoms throughout most of the day. Needless to say, I don't use an alarm clock anymore. It is easy to assume that anxiety is all in your head, but if you have dysautonomia you are probably experiencing symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Khaarina, I agree with you 100%. It was one of my early clues that something was wrong. A lot was changing and fast. I can look back and see a cloudy view of progression.

On the other hand, some of the symptoms I have are disturbing and they bother me. So I can speak for myself saying that dysautonomia has gotten in my head a bit. Only natural that it would, and then coupled with a heightened sense of alarm . . . I can honestly say that I have an anxiety issue. Never thought I would make that admission, but I am much more sympathetic to people that has had to deal with it. It is no fun.

So for me, at this point, I feel it is safe to say that it is both.

I am like you in that once it is started, it is hard for me to shake it. It takes some time. I find myself trying to avoid triggers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What disturbs me most is my constant "edginess" or anxiety. I feel this way ALL the time, it really never goes away. It's worse when I'm sitting up at the computer, like right now. I honestly don't know if I have POTS or panic/anxiety disorder. I guess it's possible I have both, but my HR has really been good lately. I have my worst symptoms when my HR is normal. And I've been more physical, climbing staircases at work again, with no bad physical reactions - just the darn anxiety. :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...