ADHD Videos

Are You Hypersensitive?

One in five individuals is a “highly sensitive person” (HSP). Hypersensitivity commonly occurs with ADHD. Learn the common signs, and how to cope.

Hypersensitive people are over-responsive to their environment. That is, they avoid loud noises, flashing lights, and strong smells at all costs.

It’s more difficult for them to process and act upon the information received by the five senses, and that can lead to emotional overwhelm. Could you be a “highly sensitive person?” Learn more by watching this video.

Are You Hypersensitive?

One in five individuals is a “highly sensitive person” (HSP). Hypersensitivity commonly occurs with ADHD.

Common physical sensitivities include:

  • Loud noises
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Fast moving objects
  • Strong odors
  • Coarse fabric or tags
  • The feeling of hair against skin

HSPs are more likely to suffer from:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Over-the-Top Emotions

“Emotional pain and physical pain are experienced in the same part of the brain,” says Ned Hallowell, M.D.

Hypersensitive people with ADHD feel pain more acutely and dramatically than do others. Unkind words that may bounce off others can leave a HSP in tears. For HSPs, stimulating environments and conversations feel overwhelming at times. That can lead to an emotional overreaction.

“Just as we have trouble filtering what goes out,” says Hallowell, who has ADHD himself, “We also have trouble filtering what comes in.”

If you’re living with hypersensitivity, pursue an evaluation for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and try these approaches:

  • Block it out. To avoid sensory overload and anxiety, carry earplugs and a headset with you.
  • Make sure you’ve had enough sleep, or take a nap, before facing a situation that will be highly stimulating.
  • Meditate, pray, or use another relaxation method to strengthen your coping mechanisms.
  • Reduce extraneous stimulation by saying ‘no’ to unnecessary or overwhelming obligations.
  • Be a homebody. Highly sensitive people need more time than others to process the events of the day, so stay in more often.

“When you know that you are highly sensitive, it reframes your life. Sensitive people have to live differently in order to be comfortable.” — Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

Learn More About the Hypersensitivity:

1. Take This TestSensory Processing Disorder in Children
2. Take This TestSensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in Adults
3. Top Article: Hypersensitivity Is Not Imagined
4. Download Are Your Senses in Overdrive?