What are the causes and remedies for sensory abnormalities?

Symptom Database

Sensory abnormalities, also known as sensory processing disorder or sensory issues, refer to difficulties in processing and responding to sensory information from the environment. This can manifest in various ways, such as hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli, difficulties with sensory integration, and challenges in regulating sensory input. These abnormalities can affect individuals of all ages, from children to adults, and can have a significant impact on their daily lives. In this article, we will explore the causes of sensory abnormalities and discuss potential remedies to help individuals manage and overcome these challenges.

Causes of Sensory Abnormalities

The exact causes of sensory abnormalities are not yet fully understood. However, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors may contribute to the development of sensory processing difficulties. Some potential causes include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Certain genetic factors may make individuals more susceptible to sensory abnormalities. Studies have shown that sensory processing difficulties can run in families, indicating a genetic component.
  • Neurological differences: Differences in brain structure and function may play a role in sensory processing challenges. Some individuals with sensory abnormalities may have atypical neural connections or an imbalance in neurotransmitters that affect sensory integration.
  • Environmental factors: Experiences in early childhood, such as trauma or exposure to toxins, may influence sensory processing. Additionally, a lack of exposure to a variety of sensory stimuli during critical periods of development can impact sensory integration.

Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder can manifest in a wide range of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli: Individuals may be easily overwhelmed by sensory input, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. This can lead to avoidance behaviors and heightened anxiety.
  • Hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli: On the other hand, some individuals may have a reduced sensitivity to sensory input. They may seek out intense sensory experiences or engage in repetitive behaviors to stimulate their senses.
  • Difficulties with sensory integration: Sensory integration refers to the brain’s ability to process and organize sensory information. Individuals with sensory processing difficulties may struggle to integrate and make sense of different sensory inputs, leading to difficulties with coordination, balance, and motor skills.
  • Emotional and behavioral challenges: Sensory abnormalities can also impact emotional regulation and behavior. Individuals may experience meltdowns, mood swings, or exhibit challenging behaviors as a result of sensory overload or sensory-seeking behaviors.

Remedies for Sensory Abnormalities

While sensory abnormalities cannot be completely cured, there are various strategies and therapies that can help individuals manage and cope with their sensory processing difficulties. Here are some remedies that may be beneficial:

Sensory Integration Therapy

Sensory integration therapy is a specialized form of therapy that aims to improve sensory processing and integration skills. It involves engaging individuals in activities that provide controlled sensory input to help them regulate their responses. This therapy can be tailored to the specific sensory needs of each individual and may include activities such as swinging, jumping, or playing with different textures.

Environmental Modifications

Modifying the environment can also help individuals with sensory abnormalities. Creating a sensory-friendly environment involves reducing sensory triggers and providing a calm and predictable space. This can include using dim lighting, minimizing background noise, and providing sensory tools such as fidget toys or weighted blankets.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can be beneficial for individuals with sensory processing difficulties. Occupational therapists work with individuals to develop strategies and skills to manage sensory challenges in daily life. They may provide guidance on self-regulation techniques, adaptive strategies, and sensory diet plans tailored to the individual’s specific needs.

Visual Supports and Social Stories

Visual supports, such as visual schedules or cue cards, can help individuals with sensory abnormalities understand and navigate their daily routines. Social stories, which use simple language and visual cues, can also be effective in preparing individuals for new or challenging sensory experiences.

Self-Care and Stress Management

Engaging in self-care activities and stress management techniques can help individuals with sensory processing difficulties regulate their emotions and reduce anxiety. This can include practicing deep breathing exercises, engaging in calming activities such as yoga or meditation, and ensuring adequate rest and sleep.


Sensory abnormalities, or sensory processing disorder, can significantly impact individuals’ daily lives and functioning. While the exact causes are not fully understood, a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors may contribute to the development of sensory processing difficulties. However, with the right strategies and therapies, individuals can learn to manage and cope with their sensory challenges. Sensory integration therapy, environmental modifications, occupational therapy, visual supports, and self-care techniques are just a few of the remedies that can help individuals with sensory abnormalities lead fulfilling lives. By understanding the causes and exploring these remedies, we can provide support and improve the quality of life for individuals with sensory processing difficulties.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
Add a comment