Video is subtitled in English & Dutch
Episode 17 - Can sensory overstimulation cause a psychotic episode?
Short answer: no. At least, not clinical psychosis as psychiatrists define it.
What severe overstimulation can do, however, is cause an extremely harrowing experience that in many ways feels like a psychotic episode. Nothing you see, hear or feel makes sense, you may feel detached from your body and your environment is so hard to distinguish that you don’t really know what is real and what is not.
Overstimulation causes feelings of anxiety under the best of circumstances, but this can be panic-inducing. When you then don’t realise what is happening and have no idea what is causing you to feel so anxious or panicked, that in turn will cause additional anxiety, making it more likely to trigger a panic attack, creating a loop.
Have that happen more often, and the diagnosis ‘generalised anxiety disorder’ or ‘panic attack disorder’ looms.
However, no therapy is going to help, because the trigger isn’t a thought or a feeling you have, but something outside of you: sensory stimuli. The only real solution – and a surprisingly quick fix, in my professional and personal experience – is stimuli management.
Does this experience ring familiar to you, or would you like to have some help figuring out how to manage sensory stimuli in your life? Book a free Navigation Call and let’s find out together what works for you!