Depending on the severity of the disorder, a number of different treatment options are available for patients with an overactive autonomic nervous system. This condition can be caused by another disorder, such as alcoholism or diabetes, and when possible, treating those diseases can completely cure the problems in the autonomic nervous system. For cases that appear spontaneously, there is no cure, though there are lifestyle changes and medications that can help patients deal with the adverse effects of these disorders. The type of treatment used often depends on the severity of the symptoms.
In some cases, a patient may develop an overactive autonomic nervous system because he or she has another medical problem. Alcoholism has been known to disrupt the function of this system, and in such a case, the treatment would involve refraining from alcohol and allowing the body time to heal from the damage caused by too much drinking. Patients with diabetes can also experience problems with the autonomic nervous system, and though this disease cannot be cured, managing it well can eliminate many of the symptoms. Some types of viral infections can also cause autonomic nervous system disorders, which may go away on their own once the infection has been suppressed.
In many cases, however, it is not possible to cure an overactive autonomic nervous system. Patients with certain genetic disorders; degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease; or injuries that have damaged the parts of the brain that control the autonomic nervous system may have to manage this disorder for their entire lives. In mild cases that affect the patient only intermittently or that raise the blood pressure and heart rate only slightly, a patient may be able to manage the symptoms with stress reduction techniques. A proper diet, a high level of physical fitness, and a positive outlook on life can all help calm the patient and depress the flow of adrenaline that causes the system to overreact. Deep breathing and meditation are also helpful, especially when a patient is suffering from an attack.
More severe cases may require the use of medication or other medical intervention. Some medications can be used to lower the blood pressure and heart rate while others may help a patient feel less anxious. Surgical procedures that allow the heart to beat normally may also be available to patients with severe problems that affect the rhythm of the heart.