What Is Sensory Overload?

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Sensory overload occurs when one or more of your five senses becomes overstimulated. as an example, a person’s sense of hearing is also become overloaded when music is simply too loud or their vision may be impaired if lights are too bright. Anyone can experience sensory overload, but it’s most typical with those that have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, or sensory processing and other neurodevelopment disorders.


Symptoms of sensory overload will vary from person to person. While some people may experience only mild symptoms leading to slight feelings of discomfort, some people report symptoms that are so intense that they’re unable to function until their senses normalize.

People may experience only auditory overload, while others might experience it visually. In some cases, over one amongst your senses might feel overloaded. However, there are some shared symptoms that anyone experiencing sensory overload may need. They include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Lack of focus
  • Panic attacks
  • Stress


When the brain receives more information through your senses than it can process, sensory overload occurs. In some cases, over one amongst your senses might feel overwhelmed at the identical time. Common sensory overload triggers include:

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1. Auditory

Your sense of hearing might become overloaded if you’re surrounded by noise (e.g. a concert or sports game) or if you’re hearing multiple sounds directly.You may find certain sounds overstimulating but not react in any respect to others. While some people report only mild discomfort, some people experience pain when sounds are too intense.

2. Touch

Everyday things just like the feeling of your clothes or someone touching you’ll feel overwhelming. the feel of certain materials may additionally cause you to feel uncomfortable (i.e. some people detest certain fabrics). Some people might even find a particular touch or the texture of certain things painful. Many people experience some quite sensitivity to light especially after they are subjected to harsh or overwhelming amounts of sunshine.


3. Smell

A person whose sense of smell is over-responsive or sensitive might find strong smells like perfume overwhelming. You are likely to note smells others may not. Some people can begin to feel unwell if they’re around too many strong smells. you would possibly even avoid places with strong smells like kitchens, bathroom, or certain stores. Some people may refuse to eat certain foods because of  the way they smell.


There are two tests medical professionals may use to spot sensory overload issues. they’re the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT)3 and therefore the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) checklist.4

In many cases, being on the lookout for the foremost common symptoms of sensory overload is that the simplest way to spot it.


There are many ways to assist manage these symptoms once they emerge. one in every of the foremost effective ways to deal with sensory overload is to acknowledge your triggers and learn the way to avoid them. you’ll try this by keeping a diary and making a note of every time it occurs.

For people that experience sensory overload as a results of other conditions, medications which help treat these conditions may also reduce the frequency or severity of sensory overload.


Sensory Diet

For children with sensory overload, a doctor might recommend an occupational therapist, to help. An occupational therapist helps children who have sensory sensitivities, by creating a sensory “diet.”

A sensory diet could be a schedule of sensory activities tailored to your  needs. It’s designed to assist you to  manage your  sensory inputs and address triggers which may overwhelm their senses.


  • The most effective is to  live a healthy life when managing sensory overload is to optimize your coping mechanisms. Some coping methods include.
  • Stick to a routine to form stability. If your sensory overload is caused by unavoidable triggers in your day-to-day life, sticking to a routine might facilitate your plan the way to handle an upcoming overload. While you may not be able to prevent it, you would possibly be ready to manage its severity.
  • Identify triggers to be told how you’ll avoid them or brace oneself for them.
  • Practice meditation to assist your mind relax once you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Optimize your living area  to get rid of things (e.g., bright or harsh lights, loud speakers) that trigger sensory overload.

By: Shinjini Chatterjee

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