What Is Stimming? Know Different Types Of This Common Problem

Stimming can be caused because of neurological problems or just lifestyle issues, etc. Know the types of stimming and causes behind it.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Apr 23, 2022Updated at: Apr 23, 2022
What Is Stimming? Know Different Types Of This Common Problem

Sometimes we move our limbs repetitively without even noticing that we are doing any such thing. You must have encountered your parents interrupting you when you move your feet continuously. Repetitive body movements or moving a certain object continuously in a particular way could be symptoms of some serious disorder. Stimming is a term that is used to define continuous particular movement of the body, it could be almost anything. Stimming can occur in autistic people and those who have developmental disabilities. Today, we will know about this condition and different types of it. 

What is Stimming? 

We spoke to Clinical Psychologist, Tanu Chowdhury from Healthcare Clinic, Lucknow to know about process of stimming. She said that it is an autistic trait but happens in normal individuals as well. Stimming can be caused when a person is extremely nervous and behaving in an unusual way. This condition can make a person do the following- 

  • Hair twirling 
  • Biting their nails 
  • Tapping of feet 
  • Tapping fingers continuously 
  • Pacing unnecessarily 


Stimming can be of different types depending on the cause of it. It also depends whether it is due to any underlying condition. Stimming behaviors can cause problems in day-to-day life. Repiritive movements is referred to as self-stimulatory behavior. There something sort of stereotypical disability that goes along with it.  

What Causes Stimming? 

The reason behind stimming is not fully understood till now. According to experts, it could be because of nervous system that provides a pleasure response to the release of certain chemicals found in the brain. This chemical in the brain is called beta endorphins. Beta endorphins in the central nervous system are responsible to produce dopamine. Dopamine results to increase in pleasure sensations. Stimming has a calming effect on the person and it could increase focus attention away from the world. It could especially be very effective for autistic people. 

Also Read- Can Teenagers Get Endometriosis? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Types of Stimming 

1. Auditory Stimming 

This is when a person uses his hearing or sound to behave in a particular way. In case of auditory stimming a person may make particular sounds of act in a particular way. He may include the following things- 

  • Vocal sounds such as humming, grunting, or high-pitched shrieking.  
  • Tapping on the objects or ears, cover or uncover your ears in a continuous way. 
  • Repetitive speech that could include lyrics of any sound, book sentences of movie lines 

2. Tactile stimming 

This is a type of stimming that includes a sense of touch. Tactile stimming can affect these types of behavior in certain people- 

  • Skin rubbing on scratching your hands, it can be objects as well 
  • Hand movements that include opening and closing fists 
  • Finger tapping 


3. Visual Stimming 

In this you may have to use the sense of sight. You could have repetitive behavior such as- 

  • Staring or gazing at the objects for a long time 
  • Looking at ceiling fans or lights continuously  
  • Repetitive blinking or turning lights on and off 
  • Moving fingers in front of the eyes 
  • Hand fapping 
  • Eye tracking or peering from corner of the eyes 

Also Read- Why Are You Sneezing In The Morning? Know Causes And Treatment

4. Vestibular Stimming 

This type of stimming involves a person to use his sense of movement and balance. It might include too much of repetitive behavior. For this the person may- 

  • Spinning 
  • Pacing 
  • Jumping 
  • Rocking or moving your body from side to side or front to back 

5. Olfactory or Taste Stimming 

This gives the person the obsession to taste or smell a particular thing on a regular basis. This is quite an awkward stimming habit and could be typical signs of autism or underlying health conditions. If you find any such stimming condition in a person, you must consult a psychological expert. 

  • Sniffing some objects or smelling them 
  • Licking
  • Tasting objects in a particular way 

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