Hyperesthesia is the excessive desire or craving for something pleasurable. It may be physical (e.g., food) or mental (e.g., music). Hyperesthesia is not a disease; it’s just a symptom of other disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and even schizophrenia.

The term “hype” comes from the Greek word hyperesis , which means “overwhelming.” The word was first used in 1876 by the German psychiatrist Carl G. Jung to refer to excessive preoccupation with a subject.

The term has since been widely adopted by psychologists and psychiatrists, but it’s origins are obscure. Some say it came into use because of its similarity to the English words “high,” meaning “exceedingly great” or “greatly impressive,” and “craze,” meaning “a new fad or fashion.” Others think it derives from the Latin word hypere , which means “to burn up.”

Hyperesthesia is often confused with hypochondria . Hypochondria refers to a fear of illness. For example, someone might worry that they have cancer.

A person suffering from hyperesthesia would feel anxious if told that they don’t have any symptoms.

Hyperesthesia is sometimes called “allodynia,” but this term is no longer used by most modern medical journals.

The most common causes of Hyperesthesia:

Depression and anxiety

These are the two most common causes of Hyperesthesia. In some cases, the cause of Hyperesthesia may be a reaction to side effects from over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

Depression is more than just feeling sad. It can cause a person to lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed, such as hobbies and socializing with friends. Depressed people will often have low self-esteem, feel guilty, and believe that life isn’t worth living.

In severe cases, they may think about suicide.

Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of worry or fear. It can take many forms, from panic attacks to more long-term issues such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People often take anti-anxiety medication to help them cope with their feelings of stress.

Unfortunately, some types of anti-anxiety drugs can actually cause Hyperesthesia.

Stress and trauma

Stress and trauma can have a profound effect on the mind and body.

Sources & references used in this article:

Pathology of experimental compression neuropathy producing hyperesthesia by C Sommer, JA Galbraith, HM Heckman… – … of Neuropathology & …, 1993 – academic.oup.com

Spinal pharmacology of thermal hyperesthesia induced by constriction injury of sciatic nerve. Excitatory amino acid antagonists by T Yamamoto, TL Yaksh – Pain, 1992 – Elsevier

Mechanical hyperesthesia of human facial skin induced by tonic painful stimulation of jaw muscles by P Svensson, T Graven-Nielsen, L Arendt-Nielsen – Pain, 1998 – Elsevier

Corneal epitheliopathy of dry eye induces hyperesthesia to mechanical air jet stimulation by CS De Paiva, SC Pflugfelder – American journal of ophthalmology, 2004 – Elsevier

Normalization of widespread hyperesthesia and facilitated spatial summation of deep‐tissue pain in knee osteoarthritis patients after knee replacement by T Graven‐Nielsen, T Wodehouse… – Arthritis & …, 2012 – Wiley Online Library

The role of focal nerve ischemia and Wallerian degeneration in peripheral nerve injury producing hyperesthesia by RR Myers, T Yamamoto… – … : The Journal of …, 1993 – anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org