Sensory overload

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Sensory overload is when one or more of the body's senses experiences over-stimulation from the environment. There are many things that impact an individual. Examples of these elements are urbanization, crowding, noise, mass media, technology, and the explosive growth of information.[1] Sensory overload is commonly associated with sensory processing disorder. Like its opposite sensory deprivation, it has been used as a means of torture.[2][3]

Symptoms[change | change source]

There are a variety of symptoms that have may cause sensory overload. These symptoms can occur in both children and adults. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Irritability
  • "Shuts down", or refuses to participate in activities and/or interact with others
  • Avoids touching or being touched
  • Gets overexcited
  • Covers eyes around bright lights
  • Makes poor eye contact
  • Covers ears to close out sounds or voices
  • Complains about noises that do not affect others
  • Having difficulty focusing on an activity
  • Constantly changing activities, never completing a task
  • Irritation caused by shoes, socks, tags, or different textures
  • Over-sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, and/or sounds
  • Has trouble with social interactions
  • Extremely high or extremely low activity levels[1]
  • Muscle tension
  • Fidgeting and restlessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sleeplessness/fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "What is Sensory Overload".
  2. Effects of Psychological Torture
  3. Isolation, Sensory Deprivation & Sensory Overload
  4. "SPD & Psychopathology in Adults". Sharon Heller.