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January 29, 2018

Internal regulation disorder: Life without hunger, constant thirst...

Dear readers, welcome to the brand-new post, the last part of the series concerning a variety of sensory procession disorders. Today we will look together what happens if our brain exhibits certain difficulties with interpreting and subsequent regulating signals coming through nerve pathways from internal organs.

The question may enter your mind at this point: „Where is the link between body organs and sensory sensations? The answer is simple. Besides well-known external senses such as sight or hearing that we all are familiar with, each person is also endowed with a varied set of inner senses. Information from them is provided by so-called interoceptors, in the similar ways as taste calls provide taste perception. In contrast, however, they are distributed within the organs and constantly inform us of their current state. For instance, they let us know how full or empty our bladder is.

Interoceptors located inside of our bodies are specific for every organ. If internal regulation disorder affects us, it usually doesn’t impact all body systems. However, no matter which parts of our body are influenced by the condition, its principle stays still the same. Our brain just and simply misinterprets information sent by inner receptors of any given organ.

In that case we looked for it, numerous manifestations of the disorder described here could be found, if only because of the number of body systems one has. Together we will try to explore at least the most frequent, the most important and, last but not least, the most interesting ones of them.

Let’s start with the already mentioned bladder and sensory disturbances connected to it. If it comes about the wrong evaluation of signals received from interoceptors, 2 options open up in practice. Either we exhibit a very poor judgment when we already need to pee, many times we don’t notice at all because we simply don’t feel the necessary sensation signalizing our bladder is full, or we always feel like going to the toilet. But, our perception doesn’t correspond to reality at all. It’s quite possible we spent 10 times more time in the bathroom than we actually have to. Kids suffering from the first of two mentioned forms of the disorder usually wet themselves frequently regardless the age. Problems of similar nature, however, sometimes persist even in adulthood.

Not too different problems can occur with stool excretion. Either we don’t feel the time to defecate has come or the urge to the toilet haunts us constantly. Just as in the previous case, here too, kids, who experience difficulties recognizing when they have to go to the bathroom, don’t make without diapers for long.

In some of us, the disorder can cause the absence of thirst and hunger. We simply don’t recognize the characteristic sensations which the majority of people is forced to take a glass of water or prepare a good meal by. So it happens that we hold without eating for days and don’t notice at all. We are able to stay without water for a significant amount of time as well. The lack of liquids is often brought to our attention by completely dry cracked lips and dehydrated heavy tongue. In contrast, other people have to deal with persistent hunger, constant thirst or both of them. If this is our case, we probably experience significant distress every day. We also tend to overeat and overdrink which is usually accompanied by health problems linked to obesity and excessive water intake. In certain people a sudden, uncontrollable alternation of states of thirst with the complete absence of that feeling occurs, no matter how much we drank. For hunger, it goes mostly the same. There are also folks living among us whose sensory disturbance doesn’t allow them to feel full. This leads to an endless cycle of eating and eating in an effort to get rid of the insistent feeling of emptiness in their stomach.

Some people don’t have any or just a small appetite due to the discussed disorder. In others, it causes enduring strong, sometimes almost insatiable, appetite.

Let’s also look at a regulation of body temperature, more specifically, how it can be influenced by out sensory condition. The brain of those, who live with this variation of the disorder, overreacts or under-reacts to outside environment. Then our inner, body temperature rises more than it ought to in hot weather and falls more than it ought to in cold weather. The second option is obvious. Our temperature almost doesn’t change due to the influence of the surroundings.

The perception of our heart rate can be affected as well. Either we are still super aware of our pulse or we don’t sense it even when our heart expressly beats.

The heart muscle of some of us, indeed, beats too fast already during the minimal load. On the other hand, it lasts longer than it should to our body until it returns to the normal pulse frequency.

The same goes for breath. Even with little physical or mental stress, it accelerates rapidly and it takes a long time to calm down again.

So there are some of the dozens of symptoms of internal regulation disorder. If you found yourself in a significant number of them and you don’t have any better explanation for your difficulties; e. g. if your lack of appetite isn’t caused by other, mental or physical, illness, then you may suffer from this condition.

I myself am almost sure some of its signs perfectly fit me. For instance, I never feel hungry and thirst kicks in for me after about 2 days without receiving fluids in that case I’m not too physically active. This all serves as the reason why I can imagine very well how this disorder affects people’s lives.

If we are recognizing the symptoms of the condition in ourselves, let's try to create a list of coping strategies which will help us in our everyday life in the future. If we, for example, don’t feel thirst, let’s set notifications on our mobile phone that will look after our drinking regime to a large extent instead of us. In that case we are constantly hungry, let’s eat rather the whole day in small portions than trying to endure without food and later overeat compulsively. If we know we react atypically to temperature, let’s modify our clothes. There are many options… Don’t hesitate to show how much creative you are and come with your brand-new methods how to ease your life. It definitely pays off!

Does any form of internal regulation disorder seem like an exact description of your issues? Has your loved one similar problems? Would you like to share your experiences with us? Write us in the comment section below. Don’t forget, we’re here for you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Monika - really interesting post - and a brilliant picture. Best wishes Stella Waterhouse - www.autismdecoded.com