Is there a relationship between being highly sensitive and ADHD?

Highly sensitive people must learn to manage their emotions. But beyond that, is it possible that their personality predisposes them to attention deficit disorder?

Last update: 27 February, 2022

There is still a long way to go. There is even an underdiagnosis. But in the meantime, questions and hypotheses arise about whether being highly sensitive is related to disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Also known as sensitivity to sensory processing (SPS), highly sensitive people they have a particular predisposition to feel everything with greater intensity. It is a concept that gained notoriety a few years ago and was created by Elaine Aron. But let’s go deeper.

What is it to be a highly sensitive person (HSP)?

Highly sensitive people are characterized by greater perception and neurosensory and cognitive stimulation. So they are more awake to stimuli.

As their name indicates, they have a particular sensitivity, capturing how others feel, connecting with them in a deep and not superficial way. It is a personality trait and not a disorder, disease or defect.

Even well managed, this trait can turn into a benefit. allows to empathize and achieve a good understanding of others.

Not much is known yet, however, research is progressing. The most notable characteristics of a PAS are the following:

  • They are intuitive and detailed. Able to capture aspects that others go unnoticed. They can interpret and read body signals and gestures that indicate between lines.
  • They can be very sensitive to loud noises or to rooms full of people. This implies that, at times, they may feel a certain saturation.
  • They tend to be more reflective and analyze the information very well.
  • Although it is not an exclusive condition, They value solitude.
Highly sensitive people are empathic thanks to their ability to perceive how the other is.

The management of emotions in PAS

Being people who perceive everything in depth, many situations can affect them. In other words, that very empathy and connection they feel can be detrimental to them.

There will be discomfort, anguish and even depression if they do not manage properly. This prevents them from moving forward with their own feelings, compromising your emotional well-being.



Being highly sensitive and ADHD? Is there a relationship?

First of all, let’s define what we mean by ADHD. It is a disorder that presents persistent behaviors in which hyperactivity and inattention prevail, difficulty concentrating, organizing and performing a task in a sustained manner over time.

Another typical feature is recognized as the fact that its sensitivity threshold is lower. Hence, high sensitivity is linked to ADHD.

There is no research that says there is a direct relationship between being highly sensitive and having ADHD. Many people even point out that one of the fundamental differences has to do with the fact that HSPs are capable of carrying out a task and concentrating on it, unlike ADHD.

In the latter case, whoever has attention disorder has difficulty concentrating. Even when you are in a quiet place.



General advice on high sensitivity

Some of the recommendations for people with high sensitivity and for their environment are the following:

  • Work on self-knowledge and emotions. In this way, little by little you will be able to know which aspects or situations affect you the most. For example, you can recognize if certain stimuli disturb you more than others.
  • It is very important that ask for professional help if you feel that emotions overwhelm you.
  • take care of rest, sleeping enough hours, looking for activities to disconnect and distract yourself. Meditation is very helpful.
  • learn to set limits to others and to yourself. Understand that you can’t always help everyone or be available. Learn to say no.

The environment of an PAS must avoid comments of the type you are very touchy. These phrases only stigmatize the trait.

Children with ADHD can be highly sensitive, but the substantial difference is in the ability to sustain attention on an activity.

Provide information to promote knowledge

As we mentioned at the beginning, there is still not much disclosure regarding people with high sensitivity. This has difficulties regarding its identification.

Even as we live in a society that does not finish giving an important place to the expression of emotions, being highly sensitive becomes more difficult. They are accused of being too sensitive or exaggerated.

Undoubtedly, knowing that one lives with a certain sensitivity and with a finer and more developed perception of the senses could provide these people with better tools and resources so as not to be overwhelmed. So, when we have someone around us who is too involved or who is more affected by certain situations, it is worth asking if it is possible that they present characteristics of high sensitivity.

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