Autonomic Lability

Autonomic lability is a condition in which the autonomic nervous system is too sensitive and too easily aroused. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for the regulation of automatic processes in our body: heart rate, breathing, digestion, and the 'fight or flight' response to name a few. Autonomic lability is when the ANS is too reactive and is aroused too easily. Causes of this include infection, genetics, brain injury, pregnancy, and Parkinson's disease. Research has also shown a relationship between anxiety and autonomic lability. This could be a factor in why people develop anxiety and panic disorders. If a person has autonomic lability they have a high reactivity to situational stimuli which increases the severity of threat perception. This increase in heart rate, breathing, and fear response could be a component of how panic and anxiety issues develop.

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