Mental Illness Can Overstimulate Your Brain

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Mental illness can cause sensory overstimulation, and it can aggravate our brain and negatively impact our mental health.

Mental Illness Can Overstimulate Your Brain

Have you ever wanted to throw your hands over your ears, sink to your knees, and shout, "Make it stop"? And by "it" you mean the raucous noise, the garish lights, the overbearing smells, and the irksome sensation of things touching you. This "it" is sensory overstimulation, and it can aggravate our brain and negatively impact our mental health. Many different mental illnesses are associated with a heightened sensitivity to stimuli from the outside world, among them post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, attention deficit (and hyperactivity) disorder (ADD/ADHD), and more.

With overstimulation, the problem isn't the senses themselves. The issue is with the brain and how it processes input from the world. It's as if the brain becomes confused and loses its full ability to filter out input it doesn't need. The result is that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations are intensified. This can make us feel overwhelmed, pressured, irritable, emotional, wired, and exhausted all at the same time. We can become overstimulated in large, crowded, noisy places or at home with a just a few friends or family members.

Mental Illness Can Overstimulate Your BrainWhile we can't directly control how our brain processes all of the information flooding it, we can take care of our brain, practicing self-care and soothing it to reduce overstimulation and increase calm.

Related Articles Dealing with Overstimulation


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Latest Mental Health News

These stories and more are featured on our mental health news page:

  • FDA Approves REXULTI As Adjunctive Treatment For Adults With Major Depressive Disorder And As A Treatment For Adults With Schizophrenia
  • ADHD Medications Linked To Cardiac Problems In Children With Hereditary Heart Disease
  • Regular Exposure To Death And Trauma Causes Death Anxiety In Emergency Nurses
  • Researchers Identify New Spectrum Disorder Called ALPIM Syndrome
  • FDA Approves REXULTI As Adjunctive Treatment For Adults With Major Depressive Disorder And As A Treatment For Adults With Schizophrenia
  • Eating In The Absence Of Hunger: A Recipe For Expanding Waistlines
  • People With Schizophrenia Have More Rare Genetic Mutations

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2015, July 13). Mental Illness Can Overstimulate Your Brain, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: July 19, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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