Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World

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9780060195205: Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World

Everyone knows how it feels to be annoyed by loud music, accosted by overly bright lights, bothered by crowds, and overwhelmed by a world that moves too quickly. Most people are able to ignore irritating sensations and focus on the task at hand. But millions of people, as much as 15 percent of the population, can't tune out harmless sensations, and instead react to them with irritation, anger, and alarm, and may even experience pain. As developmental psychologist Sharon Heller explains in this important new book, they suffer from sensory defensiveness and desperately need help coping.

Heller, who is sensory defensive herself, brings both personal and professional perspective to bear. Sensory defensiveness, she points out, can mimic, result in, or exaggerate many psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, panic disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, or anorexia. Sufferers often go through years of psychotherapy, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medication with little or no relief from the constant tension as sensations from their environment hinder and overwhelm them in their daily lives, often dramatically. Now, with Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, sufferers and those who love them can better understand this easily misdiagnosed condition and learn what they can do to enhance quality of life. Your world may be Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, but through a holistic treatment approach that includes sensorimotor strategies from occupational therapy, along with interventions from many other disciplines, it is possible to make a difficult condition far easier to endure.

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About the Author:

Sharon Heller, Ph.D., is the author of The Vital Touch and teaches courses in psychology. She received her master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Loyola University of Chicago. She lives in South Florida.

From Publishers Weekly:

Heller, a developmental psychologist, knows firsthand how difficult life can be for people suffering from sensory defensiveness (SD). Symptoms include flinching from touch; overly acute senses of smell; fear of escalators; irritation at certain lights; and eating disorders. While these symptoms are often present from birth, for many other people they can be triggered by some traumatic event. Adding to the pain is the difficulty in diagnosing this ailment-some sufferers are told they have ADD or autism. Heller briefly discusses her own successful therapy and how it transformed her life. The book includes four sections-the first two focus on an overview of the condition, and the second two examine treatment, including diet, medication and relaxation techniques. Useful appendices list alternative treatments and resources. The writing is clear and relatively jargon-free, and sprinkled throughout the book are anecdotes from patients who have successfully battled SD. Patients who have this condition will find this book reassuring, especially since Heller discusses a treatment and usually follows up with a real-life scenario. For example, the section on light therapy ends with a success story of a woman who had learned to cope with her light sensitivity: "[Anna] realized that her eyes were wide open, no longer slits. She had spent years walking around in a haze, blinded by glare, with her brain taking in only a sliver of light." For people with SD, this title will wonderfully supplement their medical treatment.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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