How many times have you heard someone saying that people who are more sensitive are just overreacting, exaggerating, or making things up? Well, news flash, we are not all made of steel with no sense of empathy. Unfortunately, people who are sensitive are often bullied because of their reactions, and other people make fun of them, call them weak, pathetic, etc. Like being so sensitive is not hard enough.
You see a plastic bag in the ocean, and you get upset about it, you see a lonely dog, and you start crying, there is a poor man on the street, and again, you are crying and stressing out. It seems that it is so easy to push the buttons of a hypersensitive person. But there are many more serious problems that hypersensitive people are coping with because their emotions are not the only fragile thing.
Adults who are diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are one particular group often stricken by hypersensitivity. This mental disorder, in some instances, goes from childhood to adulthood. ADHD is usually developed during childhood, or teen years, but sometimes it continues into adulthood. While children with ADHD are hyperactive, and the main problem for their parents is how ADHD does affect sleep, adults struggle more with their self-esteem, anxiety, mood swings, impulsiveness, etc. So this combined with hypersensitivity can be pretty challenging, especially for young adults.
Like we mentioned, controlling emotions such as sadness or frustration can be extremely hard for adults with ADHD, and most of them are dealing with hypersensitivity of their feelings. Experiencing those emotions so deeply, while vainly trying to put them under control is painful. This can be devastating for your social life, because usually, those strong emotions are going towards another human being.
Impulsive people are not able to take time and question their reaction; they just go for it immediately. For that reason they are not objective, they cannot separate from their emotions and see the bigger picture. People with ADHD cannot delay their response, but it is still not clear whether ADHD itself is causing those symptoms, or it happens in combination with other psychiatric conditions that are common among people with ADHD.
People who grew up with this disorder are kind of used to all the negative comments or labels they get because of their uncontrolled “drama queen like” reactions. However, as adults, they are still unable to ignore them, unlike the people who did not deal with ADHD as kids. They can easily brush off some negative comments, or jokes on them, while people with ADHD cannot.
Besides the emotional part, these people are also struggling to control their physical reactions to certain things from their surroundings. Sounds such as scratching or air conditioner humming, fluorescent light or flickering light of a candle, or a tag on the shirt that is touching and gently scratching the body, are all very disturbing for sensitive people. They pay attention to everything, so even the smallest touch can trigger a bursting reaction.
This type of hypersensitivity is also present among kids. For example, if a teacher puts his hand on the shoulder of a student to simply pat it, that can be extremely irritating for a student with ADHD. The reaction of a student will certainly cause problems and confuse the teacher, which is why it is important to know that ADHD and hypersensitivity are not something kids should be ashamed of. Instead, they need to inform their close people so that they can treat them with more understanding of the situation, and learn how not to push their buttons.
Adults with ADHD and physical sensitivity are usually already aware of the things that can trigger them, and try to avoid them. However, there are some situations when this combination of disorders starts hindering the quality of their life. Some people who are in relationships can even feel discomfort during those intimate moments together, which can create a lot of issues and requires counseling, or talking to find a way to overcome it.
What are Common Symptoms of Hypersensitivity?
Majority of the symptoms are very similar, if not the same, to the ones of ADHD. That is the reason why sometimes it is hard to set a diagnose, and find out which one of these two conditions you have or even both.
You are getting overwhelmed by certain information or discovery. You are sensitive physically or emotionally to stimuli via senses such as smell, sound, touch, or sight.
Low level of self-esteem, you are always questioning yourself or thinking that you are not good enough.
You are suffering from asthma, allergies or eczema.
Why Are People With ADHD More Prone to Hypersensitivity
These people struggle to filter what goes out, and what goes in, they take it all, and just let things genuinely get to them. They will easily feel empathic and identify with other people’s problems and experiences. Although some will say that is normal, it is, but only until a certain extent. You should not feel that hard or “heartbroken” about things that are not affecting you.
People who are living with ADHD and are born with a high level of sensitivity do not need much; in fact, they need a tiny bit, a hint, to feel more than anyone else. Even the smallest stimulation can trigger their reaction, which can indeed be painful for them. Emotionally and physically, they feel that pain. However, why are these two conditions connected so tightly it is still not clear from the scientific point of view.
How to Overcome Your Hypersensitivity
The good news is that there are ways to control your hypersensitivity, to a certain extent at least. So the situation is not so bad, but it can take a while until you reach that point. Younger adults are a particularly sensitive age division, due to their lifestyle and very active social life, so they usually struggle the most. But, with age comes experience, so you will learn how to control your reactions as time goes by.
Do not push yourself too much. Try choosing to participate only in those situations that can suit your temperament. Take more time to process the things around you, and try not to overthink everything in the evening.
Learn how and when you need to step back. Your reactions and emotions toward a certain situation are ok, but you have to accept that there are other opinions too. So take a pause, and calm down to analyze the situation objectively.
If noise triggers you, always carry headphones or earplugs so that you can isolate yourself and block out the noise. Seek for the venues that are not crowded, smaller grocery shops, etc.
Try some of the relaxing techniques such as yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises to calm down and clear your mind.
Is There a Positive Side of Hypersensitivity?
Believe it or not, there is. After years of listening to “you have to toughen up,” “stop being so sensitive,” etc. you will learn how to embrace your diagnose and perhaps turn it into your advantage. Some of the positive aspects of ADHD and hypersensitivity are empathy, creativity, and deep perception. So you can find a career that requires you to help other people or motivate them to overcome their own insecurities and feel better about themselves.
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