Highly Sensitive Person and Psychiatric Meds

This question came in from Adelina R.:

Chaya Grossberg, I have read in your blog about recovery in psychiatric meds:

-Highly Sensitive Body is produced by psychiatric drug medications, isn´t it?
-Highly Sensitive Body belongs only to a HSP…? HSP= High Sensitive Person

Are you a highly sensitive person and wondering if psychiatric meds could make your highly sensitive body worse?
Adelina R asks whether psych drugs cause HSP/hsb and here’s my surprising answer.

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5 thoughts on “Highly Sensitive Person and Psychiatric Meds

  1. Dear Adelina and Chaya, and anyone who has ever been told “You are too sensitive,

    We live in a world of over-diagnosing. There is much talk of HST and that’s just one more Diagnosis. It’s a phony diagnosis just like bipolar, only it’s a pop diagnosis, one that is big in the media. Sadly, folks picked up on it and it got all trendy. Sadly, it’s very cliquish and extremely addictive. Once you think you’re “highly sensitive,” it’s an extremely hard notion to get out of your head.

    Even worse, as soon as you’re told just how sensitive you are, that is, as soon as some person in authority diagnoses you, which really is a terrible crime, drugs or no drugs, you’re hooked. You’re now going to overreact ten times worse than ever before. You’ll NOTICE it, too. You’ll tell all your friends, “This is because of my HST.” Do we see resemblance to the Mental Health System here? “This is because of my bipolar…..” Yep. See, it’s a diagnosis. Same thing. Drugs or no drugs.

    Your mission is to drop the diagnosis. Unless you want to annoy everyone around you by overreacting all the time, then pointing out how privileged you are. As Szasz would say, mental illness gives people an excuse. It gave me one, too, I admit it. And I too, have a good chuckle over it all nowadays.

    • Hi Julie. You may be right! It’s complicated as I agree with you on one hand for sure but also do think there are archetypes and it can be helpful to understand our own tendencies. I will say more shortly!

    • Hi again Julie. I think you are right on one hand that identifying as “sensitive” can create a self fulfilling prophesy and can exaggerate status, class and other socioeconomic hierarchies where those lower on the scale are considered “hyper sensitive” while others may be just as sensitive but deal with it by domineering/dominating others, or just have more power to make decisions to suit their own sensitivities.

      Are you saying that people shouldn’t identify with any descriptors and that anything we say to describe ourselves is basically a diagnosis? I do think some people actually are more sensitive to or even allergic to specific things, or get tired more easily, or need more or less sleep to feel good, or get sick more often or easily, or have literally thinner or thicker skin etc.

      • I think people are very very different, certainly. Some are sensitive to some things that others are not sensitive to, and vice versa.

        in India, I believe, people react differently to certain colors of clothing. Is that a sensitivity? Gestures do not mean the same things in different cultures. Yes, people are different.

        But while there are human differences, certainly different tastes, likes and dislikes, I really think if you spend too much time brooding over your oversensitivity, then I think it’s a problem. If that’s happening, then maybe you can choose not to think about it so much.

        I DO have a noise problem. I hate noise, and I can’t tolerate TV noise. I have noticed this, and the only solution is to avoid it. This is inconvenient, meaning I can’t live near a TV. But the worst thing I can do is to think about it or call it a diagnosis or call myself disabled over it. I make sure noise ordinances are followed, and if they aren’t, I weigh the consequences, and usually tough it out.

        • Chaya says:

          Thanks Julie. I think you’re right in some cases. Yet I have found that being aware of my sensitivities and safeguarding myself from getting overwhelmed and overstimulated is often the best bet. There’s a difference in my mind between diagnosing and stigmatizing oneself and taking good care to protect oneself from overwhelm when there are tendencies towards feeling this way.
          One of my teachers once said to me “you are very sensitive. You need to be around other sensitive people or your energy will be thrown off. ” This may sound stigmatizing but it actually really helped me to be aware of my needs and less likely to feel thrown off.
          What do you say the same thing about toughing it out to a child? Or someone you consider to be severely disabled or ill? I believe sensitivity is a spectrum like all things and can be more extreme for some.
          More controversially perhaps I do believe some people souls are actually more sensitive and less able to tolerate Soulless situations.

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