Hyperesthesia is a disorder characterized by distortion of sensory perception through increased intensity of sensation. It is a symptom that causes an exaggerated sensation of tactile and, in some cases, visual stimuli.
The person suffering from this disorder perceives stimuli in an excessively intense way, a fact that usually causes continuous and recurrent feelings of discomfort.
It is the antithesis of hypoesthesia (decreased sensitivity) and anesthesia (complete absence of sensitivity) and is caused by anatomical and functional changes in brain regions that modulate sensory impulses.
Features of hyperesthesia
It is a perception disorder caused by a decrease in the perceptual threshold. That is, the person perceives stimuli with more intensity, as the dorsal root of the brain causes little or no sensory loss.
The increase in perception is limited to tactile stimuli, so that the rest of the perceptual processes (hearing, vision, smell and taste) are intact and are perceived as normal.
The experience of hyperesthesia is usually subject to the suffering of some pathology or the consumption of substances that affect the perceptive functioning of the subject.
Generally, people with hyperesthesia experience unpleasant sensations through touch, since they are excessive in intensity, speed or number.
The most common is that tactile stimuli are perceived with great intensity. For example, a person with it may experience discomfort when putting on pants due to the excessive stimulation caused by rubbing their body with the clothing.
However, in some cases hyperesthesia may not stand out so much for its intensity as for its quantity. That is, the person with this disorder can experience intense tactile sensations in various regions of the body and through numerous stimuli.
The symptomatology of hyperesthesia is defined by an increase in tactile sensitivity. That is, through experiencing extremely high sensations.
In this way, manifestations can appear in extreme or demanding situations, but also in any day-to-day and totally normal moment.
Typically, people with hyperesthesia often experience tingling, tingling, or dull sensations permanently.
Any type of tactile contact, no matter how small, can cause discomfort in the subject. Thus, everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, shaving, sitting, skimming, or coming into physical contact with others are often irritating.
On the other hand, it is usually an especially important change in pain transmission. Individuals with this disorder are much more sensitive to tactile stimuli, so they also perceive more painful stimuli.
This fact causes pain resistance to be much lower and any minimally harmful stimulus can generate high painful cures. For example, activities such as shaving, exfoliating the skin or receiving an intense massage are often difficult situations for a person with hyperesthesia.
Hyperesthesia with dentin
Dentin hyperesthesia is a specific type of hyperesthesia that is characterized by an exaggerated response to thermal stimuli in the dental region. It usually manifests with a sharp and short pain that is generated in the exposed dentine.
In this case, tactile hypersensitivity is caused by exposure of the root third of the tooth (caused by aggressive and abrasive brushing), by loss of tooth enamel due to tooth erosion, dental overload or suffering from periodontal disease. .
Thus, it is a specific and different type of hyperesthesia that has different causes. In general, there are two conditions for this change to manifest:
1-To present a dental exhibition characterized by erosion and abrasion processes.
2-Opening of the dentinal tubules, usually caused by acids and abrasion.
It is a rare symptom that usually appears due to suffering from psychopathologies or the consumption of psychoactive substances.
In this sense, it is currently argued that most cases of hyperesthesia are caused by a primary cause, which is why it is interpreted as a secondary symptom of psychopathological alterations.
Psychopathologies with hyperesthesia
It is related to two main psychopathologies: mania and psychotic disorders.
As far as mania is concerned, hyperesthesia is a rare symptom, but some individuals with bipolar I disorder may experience it.
In this case, it is argued that the cerebral excitability that causes the typical symptoms of mania would also be responsible for reducing sensory loss and causing hyperesthesia.
As far as psychotic disorders are concerned, hyperesthesia is a slightly more prevalent symptom, although it is not one of the most typical manifestations of the disorder.
Specifically, due to its higher prevalence, the disorder that generates a greater number of cases of hyperesthesia is schizophrenia. As in the previous case, although there are no conclusive studies, it is postulated that the changes in brain functioning that originate the pathology cause the development of hyperesthesia.
Toxics that can generate hyperesthesia
Consumption of a psychoactive substance can also cause an increase in a person’s sensitivity. In such cases, hyperesthesia usually occurs in parallel with poisoning, disappearing when the psychoactive effects of the drug are stopped.
Stimulant drugs are those that have shown the greatest relationship with hyperesthesia. In this way, substances such as cocaine or methamphetamine cause brain stimulation that can cause a decrease in sensory loss.
Similarly, sedative substances can also cause hyperesthesia. Specifically, heroin use has been positively related to experiencing this type of sensation.