Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

arousal of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which results in physiological symptoms like anxiety and fear (e.g., sweating, palpitations, dry mouth, lightheadedness, upset stomach). The ANS is comprised of the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system prepares the body for an emergency and acts to cause widespread changes in the body (e.g., accelerated heart rate, release of adrenaline into the blood, inhibition of digestion, elevated blood pressure).

AUTONOMIC HYPERACTIVITY: "Autonomic hyperactivity may occur when the autonomic nervous system is stimulated and the heart begins to race."

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