Sensory Processing Disorder And Its Link To Mental Health Disorders

From brainmatrix

Some individuals who suffer mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression, find little to no change in their symptoms with psychotropic drugs or psychotherapy. One likely possibility for this failure might be that these individuals have sensory processing disorder (SPD).


Sensory processing disorder[1] (previously known as sensory integrative dysfunction) is a neurological condition that causes, drives, contributes and mimics many mental health disorders[1], ranging from anxiety to depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder to social anxiety, and that does not respond to psychotherapeutic interventions.i

It is defined by abnormalities in the modulation and processing[2] of stimuli that interferes with daily functioning.ii A common, but relatively unknown condition, it causes sensory messages to get scrambled in the brain, creating a “traffic jam on the sensory highway,” and one cannot make sense of or respond appropriately to their world.iii


SPD might be a predictor of one’s mental health. Many studies have found a correlation between SPD and mental health disorders.v

Researchers Laura A. Harrison and her team at the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California have suggested an addition to the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) of the National Institutes of Health.

They state: “The time is ripe to integrate burgeoning evidence of the important role of sensory and motor functioning in mental health within the National Institute of Mental Health’s [NIMH] Research Domain Criteria [RDoC] framework), a multi-dimensional method of characterizing mental functioning in health and disease across all neurobiological levels of analysis ranging from genetic to behavioral.”vi

  1. 1.0 1.1 Heller, Sharon (2015). Uptight & Off Center, How Sensory Processing Disorder Throws Adults off Balance & How to Create Stability. Symmetry.
  2. Miller L. J., Nielsen D. M., Schoen S. A., Brett-Green B. A. (2009). Perspectives on sensory processing disorder: a call for translational research. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 3:22. 10.3389/neuro.07.022.2009