Will eliminating hyperstimulation also eliminate anxiety disorder?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated September 29, 2022

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Video Transcript

Will eliminating hyperstimulation also eliminate anxiety disorder?

Unfortunately, no. Eliminating hyperstimulation will not eliminate anxiety disorder.

Since hyperstimulation is a symptom of anxiety disorder, eliminating hyperstimulation won’t eliminate anxiety disorder. I'll explain:

Anxious (apprehensive) behavior, such as worry, creates the physical, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety.

Visit the article “What Causes Anxiety?” for more information.

Anxiety activates the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream, where they travel to targeted spots to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that prepare the body for immediate emergency action—to either fight or flee.

This survival reaction is often referred to as the fight or flight response, the emergency response, the fight, flight, or freeze response (some people freeze when they are afraid, like a “deer caught in headlights”), or the fight, flight, freeze, or faint response (since some people faint when they are afraid).[1][2]

You can visit our “Stress Response” article for more information.

Since stress responses push the body beyond its internal balance (homeostasis), stress responses stress the body. As such, anxiety stresses the body.

A body that becomes stressed can exhibit sensations and symptoms of stress.

For instance, a stress response activated by anxious behavior can produce acute “sensations” associated with the active stress response changes.

However, when stress responses are activated too frequently, such as from overly anxious behavior, the body can become chronically stressed, which we call “stress-response hyperstimulation” since stress hormones are powerful stimulants.

Hyperstimulation is also often referred to as “hyperarousal,” “HPA axis dysfunction,” or “nervous system dysregulation.”[3][4]

Recovery Support members can visit the article “Hyperstimulation And Its Effects” in chapter 14 for the many ways hyperstimulation can affect how we feel, including Nervous System Excitation and Dysregulation, Homeostatic Dysregulation, and Hormone Changes.

Chronic stress (hyperstimulation) can produce chronic “anxiety symptoms.”

Therefore, anxiety sensations and symptoms are sensations and symptoms of stress. They are called anxiety sensations and symptoms because anxious behavior that creates anxiety is the main source of acute and chronic stress that stresses the body, causing acute anxiety sensations and chronic anxiety symptoms.

Recovery Support members can visit the article “The Difference Between Anxiety Sensations And Anxiety Symptoms” in chapter 6 for more information.

Consequently, hyperstimulation is a symptom of overly anxious behavior. Eliminating hyperstimulation only eliminates the symptoms of overly anxious behavior but not the cause of overly anxious behavior.

To eliminate the cause of overly anxious behavior, you have to address anxiety’s underlying factors – those behaviors (thoughts and actions), situations, and circumstances that motivate overly anxious behavior.

So, in this sense, no, eliminating hyperstimulation will not eliminate anxiety disorder. You eliminate anxiety disorder by addressing anxiety’s underlying factors.

Here's a simple formula to keep in mind:

Anxious behavior creates anxiety, anxiety creates stress, and stress creates symptoms.

Therefore, to eliminate acute anxiety sensations, you need to contain anxious behavior. When you contain anxious behavior, you stop activating stress responses, stopping body-wide emergency changes.

To eliminate chronic anxiety symptoms, you need to contain anxious behavior AND work to reduce and eliminate hyperstimulation. As hyperstimulation is eliminated, the body stops producing symptoms of hyperstimulation.

While you can eliminate hyperstimulation and its symptoms by reducing stress and giving the body sufficient time to recover, you need to address the unhealthy anxious behavior before the problem and its symptoms are eliminated.

Therefore, to eliminate anxiety disorder, you need to identify and successfully address anxiety’s underlying factors, which is Level Two recovery work.

Once you have addressed anxiety’s underlying factors and eliminated unhealthy anxious behavior, you eliminate anxiety, unhealthy stress, and its symptoms, including hyperstimulation.

Addressing the cause of the problem (unhealthy anxious behavior) eliminates the cause and its symptoms (hyperstimulation and its symptoms).

This is why working at Level Two recovery is so important. Attaining Level Two recovery eliminates the entire anxiety disorder problem, including hyperstimulation and its symptoms.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including this Frequently Asked Anxiety Question.

References

1. Folk, Jim, and Liashko, Vitaly. “The Stress Response." anxietycentre.com, retrieved May 2022.

2. Godoy, Livea, et al. "A Comprehensive Overview on Stress Neurobiology: Basic Concepts and Clinical Implications." Frontiers In Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, July 2018.

3. Elbers, Jorina, et al. "Wired for Threat: Clinical Features of Nervous System Dysregulation in 80 Children." Pediatric Neurology, Dec 2018.

4. Teixeira, Renata Roland, et al. “Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015.