ADHD Hypersensitivity


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of children and adults worldwide. One of the lesser-known symptoms of ADHD is hypersensitivity, which can make life more challenging for those living with the condition. In this article, we will explore ADHD hypersensitivity and how it impacts the lives of those affected by the disorder.

What is ADHD Hypersensitivity?

Hypersensitivity refers to an increased sensitivity to external stimuli, such as touch, sound, or light. In individuals with ADHD, hypersensitivity can be a challenging symptom to manage. It can make everyday tasks feel overwhelming and can cause individuals to become easily distracted, distressed, or irritable.

ADHD hypersensitivity can manifest in different ways depending on the individual. Some may be sensitive to sounds, finding loud noises or sudden noises distressing or distracting. Others may be sensitive to touch, experiencing physical discomfort from clothing or fabrics. Some may be bothered by the texture or taste of certain foods, while others may have an aversion to bright or flickering lights.

How Does Hypersensitivity Affect ADHD?

Hypersensitivity often goes hand-in-hand with other symptoms of ADHD, such as distractibility, impulsiveness, or hyperactivity. This means that it can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life.

For example, a child with ADHD hypersensitivity may struggle to sit still in a classroom due to the constant distractions from sounds, textures, or even the sight of other students moving around. They may find it difficult to focus on a task or engage in a conversation because their mind is preoccupied with their sensitivity to external stimuli. This can lead to frustration, anxiety, and even aggression in some cases.

Similarly, an adult with ADHD hypersensitivity may find it challenging to work in a busy office environment or social gatherings. They may struggle with changes to their routine, making it difficult to engage with others or carry out everyday tasks.

Common ADHD Hypersensitivity Symptoms

ADHD hypersensitivity can manifest in different ways, and some individuals may experience more severe symptoms than others. Here are some common ADHD hypersensitivity symptoms to look out for:

  • Overreacting to criticism or feedback
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious in public spaces
  • Becoming easily distracted or irritated by sounds, smells, or textures
  • Being unable to tolerate certain foods or textures
  • Experiencing discomfort from clothing, labels, or seams
  • Feeling agitated or uncomfortable in bright or flickering lighting
  • Struggling to focus or concentrate in busy environments

Managing ADHD Hypersensitivity

While hypersensitivity can be a challenging symptom to manage, there are several strategies that can help:

Physical Accommodations

Making physical accommodations, such as wearing noise-cancelling headphones, using a standing desk, or having a quiet workspace, can help individuals with ADHD hypersensitivity manage their environment more effectively.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals with ADHD hypersensitivity learn coping skills and strategies to manage their hypersensitivity. Therapy can also help individuals develop a better understanding of their triggers and how to manage them more effectively.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage ADHD hypersensitivity. Medications such as stimulants or non-stimulant medications such as atomoxetine or guanfacine can reduce external stimuli’s impact on the individual.

Exercise and Mindfulness

Regular exercise, meditation, or other mindfulness practices can also help reduce hypersensitivity. These activities can help individuals regulate their emotions and improve their ability to manage external stimuli.


ADHD hypersensitivity is a challenging symptom of ADHD that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. Fortunately, there are several strategies that individuals with ADHD hypersensitivity can use to manage their symptoms effectively. With the right accommodations, therapy, medication, and self-care practices, individuals with ADHD hypersensitivity can improve their daily lives and find success and happiness.


FAQs About ADHD Hypersensitivity

What is ADHD Hypersensitivity?

ADHD Hypersensitivity is a term used to describe an intense sensitivity to external stimuli such as sound, touch, and smell that is often experienced by individuals with ADHD. It has been estimated that up to 70% of people with ADHD may experience some degree of hypersensitivity.

How does ADHD Hypersensitivity affect daily life?

For individuals with ADHD Hypersensitivity, everyday sensory experiences can be overwhelming and distressing. For example, the sound of a clock ticking or a person tapping their foot may be unbearable. This can lead to anxiety and avoidance of certain situations or places. It can also contribute to difficulties with focus and attention.

What can be done to manage ADHD Hypersensitivity?

There are several strategies that can be effective in managing ADHD Hypersensitivity. These include the use of noise-cancelling headphones, creating a calming environment, and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing. It can also be helpful to work with a therapist or medical professional who can provide guidance and support in managing this aspect of ADHD.


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