Many individuals with FND experience sensory sensitivities or sensory symptoms. Sensory sensitivities can impact all senses (touch, smell, sound, taste, vision, and interoception). Lights can feel too bright, touch uncomfortable or even painful, sounds intrusive, smells overpowering, taste intolerable and the ability to sense inner body sensations (interoception) is often lacking.
The central nervous system is designed to filter out redundant and unnecessary stimuli and organize sensorimotor information into an integrated experience. This process is called the “gating mechanism,” and it may be dysregulated in many clients with FND who describe a variety of sensory challenges that manifest as over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity.
Over-sensitivity, or “sensory overload,” implies a heightened sensitivity to touch, sounds, sights, textures, smells, and other sensory stimuli. Under-sensitivity can manifest as a lack of responsiveness to factors such as temperature, touch, or noise. It is possible that these symptoms are caused by sensorimotor gating impairments that prevent individuals from integrating information from internal and external sources as normal.
As part of your therapeutic exploration Dr. Moenter explains how sensory processing works and how you can regulate and increase your ability to be with sensory stimuli. Learning about the gating mechanism of the brain, your boundary style, and concrete boundary tools might increase your ability to process sensory stimuli and feel less negatively impacted by sensory stimuli.