Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is more and more in the news but still not well understood. A common misconception is that it exists largely in special needs children who are hypersensitive to sensation. For instance, they jump at a loud noise and rip out labels in their clothing.
But this description is misleading. In fact, SPD is quite common in all age groups and all levels of functioning. Nor is it confined to hypersensitivity. Basically, you have SPD if:
- Some sensations drive you up a wall or, the converse, you seek pounding music, flashing lights and heavy perfumes.
- You have two left feet and move little, or you can’t sit still and fly all over the place.
- You avoid exercise like the plague.
- You put on the pounds from looking at chocolate cheesecake.
- You confuse right from left.
- You get dizzy easily.
- You find everything an effort.
- You can’t get around the block without a GPS.
- You feel feel jumpy and anxious.
- You suffer addictions.
Does any of this sound like you? If so, good chance that you’ve never gotten diagnosed but instead have been treated for anxiety, panic, OCD, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and so on as mental health issues go hand in hand with SPD.
Before you pop another pill, find out first if SPD could be the cause of your mental health issues or at least be greatly contributing to them. Surf the internet and read up on SPD and all its many manifestations and treatments. In a nutshell, if you are "uptight" and "off center," you likely have SPD.
Sharon Heller, PhD, is a psychologist and consultant in sensory processing disorder. She’s the author of Too Loud, Too Bright,Too Fast, Too Tight, What to do if you are sensory defensive in anoverstimulating world and Uptight& Off Center, How sensory processing disorder throws adults off balance& how to create stability. Her website is www.sharonheller.net and email firstname.lastname@example.org.