2 Details About Some Animals Have Developed Physical Adaptations Highly Sensitive People and Depression: Overstimulation May Lead to Depression.

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Highly Sensitive People and Depression: Overstimulation May Lead to Depression.

Recent research by social scientist Elaine Aron and her team describes a set of personality traits she calls “high sensitivity.” His research suggests that approximately 15-20% of humans (and for that matter animals) have evolved to be more aware in response to their environment. It is not that “highly sensitive people” (HSPs) are gifted with hyper-awareness or hyper-vision but rather, that they have nervous systems and minds which allow more motivation to enter without automatic and unconsciously shut down, and more. , that they then process the enhancement they receive in more detail than others.

What do we mean by “proof”?

There is stimulation on all sensory channels: sights, sounds, smells, vibrations, touch.

HSPs often respond strongly and quickly reach their own tolerance level in loud, bright or chaotic environments.

  • Managing this type of overcrowding can be treated as a “technical problem” of reducing environmental intensity or leaving it out when possible.

Five types of stress that can contribute to depression

(1) Chronic environmental overstimulation.

Unfortunately “leaving” a highly sensitive area is not always possible.

  • A sensitive child may not leave a busy classroom…
  • An employee may not always be happy to leave an unbearable workplace…
  • A loving, caring mother cannot abandon her children when they “get too excited.”

Animal models have shown that when an animal believes that it is unable to escape from an oppressive environment it develops feelings of “learned helplessness” and becomes hopeless and depressed (Seligman,1967).

Hypertension is an unpleasant, aversive experience for everyone.

HSPs who are overly sensitive and feel unable to exercise control over their environment may be at higher risk for developing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness…and then depression.

(2) Internal enhancement

HSPs are closely tuned to information and signals from each other. The internal sensations of hunger, thirst, excessive heating, physical fatigue, lack of rest … are all very compelling and obvious to them. As a result, HSPs sometimes become overly concerned about their health or illness and may make urgent demands on their environment for attention or support.

The increased awareness of their human weakness can contribute to feelings of anxiety and a sense of helplessness which also contributes to the growth of feelings of depression.

(3) A rich and stimulating collective life.

Another set of emotions arise in the form of fantasies, dreams and inner reflections… all of them, anxious, critical or magical thoughts, which float around in the background of our conscious thinking often more easily, more reliably and attractive to most. The HSPs.

This detailed knowledge about the situations that worry you is done in order to anticipate and avoid potential problems… but it can easily become overwhelming and contribute to feelings of helplessness and powerlessness and leading again to helplessness, despair.

(4) Interpersonal over-heating

Other people are very excited to be around!

Everyone is constantly expressing their emotional states to each other through tone of voice, posture, gestures and eye contact. It is a natural human ability to respond emotionally to these signals… to understand and “feel together” with those around us.

HSPs with their porous stimulus barriers and information processing are conscious and unconscious interpersonal signal readers. As a result they are often unconsciously buffeted and captured by the emotional states of those around them… or even by the states of people on the news or in historical representations. They can experience these messages very strongly.

If an HSP lives closely with a depressed or mentally ill person or in a stressful environment, they may find it very difficult not to be depressed themselves.

(5) Chemically related stress responses

Since HSPs are attuned to their bodies, they observe physical changes that occur in response to very small levels of environmental pollutants or small doses of drugs.

Side effects which may be minor in others may be very prominent in sensitive people.

Some medications can have depression as a side effect:

  • Hypertension and cholesterol medications may not cause symptoms of depression, like some medications for heart disease because these medications affect the brain and the whole body.
  • Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement drugs can also affect mood.
  • Anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers which are intended to reduce nervous tension also carry the risk of depression as a side effect.
  • Strong prescription acne medication is known to cause depression in some individuals.

Environment guys…

The intersection of these factors can create a “tornado” for some HSPs. The sensitivity to their own responses leads to feelings of helplessness which makes people believe that they cannot change or influence their environment. Mental depression also contributes to the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness that leads to depression. The sadness or worry of others around them can add to their negative outlook.

Feeling empowered helps…

Fortunately, studies have also suggested that sensitivity works both ways. Sensitive individuals are also particularly able to enjoy pleasure, and benefit strongly from the love, support and interest of those around them.

HSPs often benefit quickly from psychotherapeutic support which helps them re-frame their experience towards a more accurate but more positive and powerful perspective on themselves, their abilities and their ability to manage their environment effectively.

Hypersensitivity is part of the normal spectrum of human response. There are those who have the gifts of intelligence, understanding, empathy and empathy for others… qualities that are of inestimable value to human society. Unexplored and untreated depression in HSPs robs them of all the benefits of their special gifts.

If you or someone you love is very sensitive and struggling with depression it may be time to act… to reach out for help and support.

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