📚What Do Anxiety, Depression, Pain and Sensory Defensiveness All Have in Common ?
Even though we know that our physical health is inextricably linked with our mental well being, the effects of our mental state on our physical bodies might not be immediately apparent, and thus misunderstood by many people. It is with such a misunderstanding that there was no collaboration between physical doctors and mental health professionals in the management of a patient’s health – as both the areas were considered to be separate and to be treated differently. In this article, we will be looking at the links between many common mental conditions with physical symptoms such as pain.
Let’s examine a few of them. Starting out with sensory defensiveness.
What is sensory defensiveness? This condition is mostly associated with autistic people, but most people are unaware that this can also be experienced by ordinary people as well. This is defined by an affected person’s reaction to stimulation to things that normal people don’t look at as being harmful. To understand this further, let us look at an example: An affected person would typically not be able to shop at a shopping mall due to the excessive noise they perceive. For normal people who are faced with stressful situations such as life or death situations, their sympathetic nervous system is triggered, and adrenaline floods their body. This trigger helps them to react to the situation appropriately. However, prolonged exposure to adrenaline and activation of the sympathetic nervous system is not good for the overall health of the body.
And with this basic understanding of sensory defensiveness, let us understand how this relates to conditions such as anxiety, depression and physical pain. For patients who have sensory defensiveness, they are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, as these are related. People who are depressed have physical symptoms like pain and anxiety-related physical disorders show up in their body like high blood pressure, cardiac problems, kidney issues and so forth. This proves that the mental and physical systems of our bodies are interlinked with each other and influence each other easily.
For treating such disorders, weighted blankets, such as offered by truHugs, have been found to work out and be effective in such kind of situations. For us to be able to understand the connotation and effectiveness of weighted blankets in such situations, we must be able to understand the link between the mental and physical sides of our systems.
To do so, some researchers performed a study on two groups of people in order to establish the link between physical and mental illnesses. One group was the normal people, and the other group was believed by the researchers to be at a higher risk of having sensory defensiveness. Both were administered standard questionnaires. At the end of the test, the second group of people were found to have higher anxiety levels corresponding to the diagnosis of sensory defensiveness. This proves that both the conditions are interdependent on each other. The same results were observed when comparing sensory defensiveness with depression as well as with physical pain.