What is Sensory Overload: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

| Sensory Integration
What is Sensory Overload: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sensory overload: What Is It? Let us picture you entering a crowded mall during the holiday season. The overwhelming smells, flashing lights, and loud music that surround you at the mall. While most people adjust to this condition quickly, some may experience overload, panic, or even shut down. This is referred to as sensory overload, a mental state that causes discomfort and anxiety as your brain is overloaded with sensory data. We'll discuss sensory overload today, including its causes, symptoms, and helpful treatments.


How can sensory overload occur? Your brain is receiving more sensory data than it can comprehend at once when it is experiencing sensory overload. Any number of senses, including taste, smell, touch, and sight, could be at blame for this. Your brain struggles to sort through and prioritise the information when this occurs because it is overloaded. As a result, you experience overwhelm and lose control.


What are the Symptoms of Sensory Overload:

A multitude of factors can lead to sensory overload, however the following are some frequent causes:

Emotional: Frustration, Irritability, Anxiety, Feeling Overwhelmed
Behavioral: Meltdowns, self-stimulating behavior
Physical: Headache, Concentrating difficulty, and restlessness


In children following signs can Indicate Sensory Overload:

  • They're avoiding some specific situations or places
  • Closing their eyes
  • Covering the face
  • Crying
  • Placing their hands on the ears
  • Anxiety, irritability, and restlessness
  • Running away from specific places or situations


What are the Causes of Sensory Overload:

In numerous circumstances, anyone might encounter sensory overload. People who suffer from specific conditions are more likely to experience it, like:

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD): In this conditions brain unable to process sensory information, which leads to difficulty  with organizing input and filtering information.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): People with ASD often have heightened sensitivity to sensory input, making them more prone to overload.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): People with PTSD are the one who easily gets triggered by sounds, smells, sights and other sensory reminders of their trauma.

This can also happened in other neurological conditions like ADHD, anxiety disorders and migraines can also  increase the risk of sensory overload.


Treatment Options for  Sensory Overload:

In the event that we state that there are no particular therapies for sensory overload. Nonetheless, a number of strategies exist to aid in controlling and lessening the effects of sensory overload.
Those children who suffer from sensory overload may benefit from occupational therapy. Patients who want to lessen the effects of sensory overload might work with occupational therapists to modify their surroundings.

Creating a Calming Space: create a dim light, quiet are with calming textures and sounds.

Identifying triggers: Find what situations leads to sensory overload. Identify and keep a sensory journal to track your track and identify each patterns.

Sensory Techniques: Do meditation, practice like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness exercises which can help in calming the nervous system.

OT: Occupational therapy OTs can assess your specific needs and develop personalized strategies for managing sensory sensitivities.

Using Adaptive Tools: Ear pieces, fidget toys, sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones can provide relief from sensory overload in specific situations.


For Children


In order to help children who are experiencing sensory overload, parents and other carers can:

  • Confirm the child's experiences and feelings
  • Take teacher's support in the possibility of sensory overload
  • Help your childby avoiding triggering situations
  • Take help from your doctor, and Occupational Therapist



Though it can happen to anybody, sensory overload is particularly prevalent in individuals with autism, ADHD, PTSD, and other disorders.
See a physician or occupational therapist if a parent or person experiences frequent episodes of sensory overload. Assistance and interventions will be given by occupational therapists.

Becoming aware of and offering support to people who feel sensory overload is crucial because it's a genuine sensation. We can make the world more welcoming and sensory-friendly for all people by spreading knowledge and offering tools.

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