Hyperesthesia is defined as heightened sensitivity to different stimuli. The person who has the condition can experience added sensation and feeling to vision, touch, smell and hearing. The particular descriptions will vary depending on the sense that's heightened. For example, increasing sensitivity to touch is called tactile hyperesthesia, also known as tactile sensitivity. An increased sensitivity to vision is called visual hyperesthesia. Moreoever, an increased sensitivity to hearing is also called auditory hyperesthesia or auditory sensitivity.
Individuals with hyperesthesia will be restless most of the time, because of the increased perception and heightened senses. It is not uncommon for individuals to develop sensitivity of more than one part. The problem has a lot to do with extra stimulation of the central nervous system. People can present a variety of symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, lack of sleep, restlessness, confusion, disorientation and other brain symptoms.
The Known Causes
The health condition can be triggered by a variety of factors. Primarily the symptoms start when there is excessive stimulation of the central nervous system, particularly in areas like the cortex, medulla and spinal cord. The effects will subside in 3 to 6 hours. Hyperesthesia sometimes only lasts for a few hours if the excessive stimulation of the brain comes from internal processes and not from outside stimuli.
Many experts also correlate ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder among children with hyperesthesia. Experts say that the mental condition can trigger tactile sensitivity, making young boys and girls extra sensitive to touch and might cry out when feeling slight pain and discomfort in different parts of the body. Other possible causes of tactile sensitivity include autism and fragile X syndrome. Autism is usually detected among young children. In this case, hyperesthesia is not the main problem but a symptom of autism characterized by problems in socialization, communication skills and adjusting to change. Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder and can also lead to autism.
A Symptom Rather Than a Disease
Hyperesthesia in other cases is only indicative of a larger problem. There are several health conditions, usually involving the brain and central nervous system, which includes it as a symptom such as neuropathy, leptomeningitis, angiostrongyliasis, Parsonage Turner syndrome, chemical poisoning and meningitis. A number of diagnostic tests will be done to confirm which particular condition is present. The symptom will also usually be present together with others like dizziness, headache, confusion and disorientation.
Tips and comments
The treatment will depend on the presented symptoms and the confirmed disease or health condition. Treating the main condition is the goal so that hyperesthesia as a symptom will also disappear. Different treatment methods are available. A simple approach would be to add vitamin B12 to the person's diet, bringing the person to a quiet and calm place or letting him reset and sleep more. Drugs and medications that counter depression and anxiety can also be prescribed to the patient. Dogs and cats can also develop the problem and can present aggressive behavior when touched or provided with stimuli.