Dysautonomia: An Emotional Rollercoaster

Written by:
Dr. Kelly Jones
May 24, 2024

Living with dysautonomia can be an emotional rollercoaster, as the condition's unpredictable nature constantly presents new challenges and obstacles to navigate. From the physical symptoms to the cognitive impairments and mood fluctuations, each day can bring a unique set of struggles. Coping with the uncertainty of how one will feel from moment to moment can lead to feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even depression. Additionally, the impact of dysautonomia on daily activities, relationships, and overall quality of life can further exacerbate the emotional toll, making it essential for individuals with the condition to seek support and cultivate coping strategies to manage both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition. 

I was first diagnosed with dysautonomia in 2021. At that time, I was unable to perform simple tasks such as getting up from a chair, showering, or climbing stairs without dizziness and extreme fatigue. Not only did dysautonomia impact my physical health, but the brain fog and memory issues were also impacted.

As a physical therapist who now specializes in helping people with dysautonomia, I am writing this blog series to touch on all aspects of this condition, including how physical therapy helped me.

What is Dysautonomia?

Dysautonomia is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is responsible for regulating involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature control. When the ANS malfunctions, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms that affect virtually every system in the body. Dysautonomia disrupts the body's ability to regulate vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature control. This can lead to myriad symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, fainting, palpitations, and difficulty regulating body temperature.

Types of Dysautonomia:

  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate upon standing, often accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, and fainting.
  • Neurocardiogenic Syncope (NCS): Commonly known as vasovagal syncope, it involves fainting or near-fainting episodes triggered by certain stimuli, such as standing for long periods or emotional stress.
  • Multiple System Atrophy (MSA): A rare, progressive disorder that affects the autonomic nervous system as well as movement and coordination, leading to symptoms such as orthostatic hypotension, muscle stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy: Damage to the nerves that control autonomic functions, which can occur as a result of conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, or infections.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to me at Activcore in Johns Creek, Georgia. I offer one-on-one physical therapy sessions, and I can work closely with you and your dysautonomia-focused medical providers to develop a sustainable training program to help you find relief.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

Dr. Kelly Jones

Physical Therapist
Kelly Jones is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) specializing in orthopedic conditions with a special interest in soccer. She works at Activcore in Atlanta, Georgia, located just 2 miles from Emory University. She also works at Activcore in Johns Creek, GA located inside the Medical Fitness and Wellness Group.
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