Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait that involves being more sensitive to sensory input than most people. People with SPS may be more sensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, smell, and/or movement. This can lead to a variety of challenges, such as feeling overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, having difficulty concentrating, and experiencing social anxiety.

What are the signs of sensory processing sensitivity?

Some common signs of sensory processing sensitivity include:

  • Being easily overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells
  • Having a strong reaction to certain textures, such as tags in clothing or certain foods
  • Needing to avoid certain activities, such as crowded places or amusement parks
  • Having difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Feeling easily tired or drained
  • Being more sensitive to emotional stimuli, such as other people’s moods or the tone of voice

How is sensory processing sensitivity diagnosed?

There is no single test for sensory processing sensitivity. A healthcare professional may diagnose SPS based on a combination of factors, such as your personal history, your symptoms, and the results of any other tests that may be relevant.

How is sensory processing sensitivity treated?

There is no cure for sensory processing sensitivity, but there are a number of things that can help to manage the symptoms. These include:

  • Avoiding or minimizing exposure to sensory stimuli that you find overwhelming
  • Learning coping strategies, such as deep breathing or relaxation techniques
  • Getting enough sleep and exercise
  • Seeking professional help, such as occupational therapy or psychotherapy

Sensory processing sensitivity is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. However, there are a number of things that can be done to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. If you think you or someone you know may have SPS, it is important to talk to a healthcare professional.

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