Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) represents a cluster of physical symptoms that result from a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that is often difficult to diagnose and manage. POTS is a form of dysautonomia. The term dysautonomia refers to a cluster of medical conditions that are related to a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that controls, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood pressure, breathing, and neurological functions, to name the most prominent systems. POTS is medically categorized as a circulatory disorder. It is also medically analyzed from a neuromuscular and/or cardiovascular perspective.
One well-known role of the ANS is the activation of the fight/flight/freeze response. Another less well-known ANS function is the control of blood circulation. POTS patients commonly experience discoloration of the extremities, secondary to blood pooling, tachycardia ( i.e. rapid heart rate), bradycardia (i.e. slow heart rate), fainting, weakness, chronic lack of energy, feeling short of breath, dizziness, and numerous other symptom complaints. Certain POTS symptoms may mimic anxiety/panic disorders and other mental health diagnoses.
Dr. Cerimele addresses the subjective perceptions and the existing skill sets of the patient to manage these often numerous and varying degrees of symptom expression which may result, in some cases, in more severe physical debilitation to include the need for bed rest and/or remaining in a prone or sitting position for extended periods of time. Quality of life and psychological adjustment to chronic, debilitating, symptoms, along with alterations in activities of daily functioning, therefore, become part of the overall psychological management strategy for these patients.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)