What is Misophonia? Causes and Treatment

 

Do you have sudden outbursts of rage just listening to your family eating dinner? Or perhaps you hear your friend typing on her laptop and experience the sudden, uncontrollable urge to throw it out the window. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault.

About 20 percent of the population suffers from a disorder called Misophonia.

 

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is a disorder that causes the patient to feel sudden surges of anger, or even irrational panic when exposed to certain trigger sounds. The most common trigger sounds are people eating, chewing gum, or other oral noises. Additional trigger sounds include repetitive tapping, like a coworker typing or drumming on the desk.

The anger is involuntary and can often create problems within family relationships and even ruin social outings.


If you can’t stand the sound of people chewing or pencils tapping, there’s actually a clinical reason behind it. 

Is Misophonia a Mental Illness?

Misophonia is not a mental illness, nor is it a psychiatric or hearing disorder.

However, it is a proven brain disorder. On brain scans, the anterior insula shows increased activation when exposed to trigger noises. When the anterior insula is activated, the body goes into a state of heightened anxiety.

Additionally, patients with Misophonia experience abnormal connectivity in regions of the brain that process emotion causing the patient to respond irrationally.

 

What Causes Misophonia?

There is no proven cause of misophonia, but there are several theories. For one, there are usually several family members with Misophonia suggesting that it might be genetic. Many people believe that it stems from problems in the central nervous system as the patient’s response is emotional.

Others believe that some Misophonia cases may be a conditioned response. A conditioned response means that the person had a negative experience with a particular sound in the past and now associates the sound with negativity.  

People with tinnitus, OCD, and anxiety disorders are also at higher risk. 

Misophonia is also more common in women than in men. One study showed that about 18 percent of women were strongly affected by trigger noises, while only about 11 percent of men felt strong reactions. 

Additionally, Misophonia usually first shows up between the ages of 9 and 13, and the first signs are often brushed off as hormonal issues.

 

Misophonia Treatment

While there is no cure, there are treatments for Misophonia. If you have a mild case of Misophonia, you may be able to control it with diet, exercise, and quality sleep.

If you’re around trigger noises, consider using white noise or even listening to white noise through headphones.

Unfortunately, some cases may be too severe for these techniques to be effective. For more severe cases, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In this scenario, the medical professional works with the patient to create a positive experience with trigger noises, teaching the mind that these noises do not need to activate the fight or flight part of the brain.

You may also choose to attend counseling sessions with family members so that they learn that the anger is not directed at them, nor is it something you can control.

 

Conclusion

Misophonia is still a rarely known disease, and there is a lot of room for research. Many people have suffered from Misophonia for years and are just now learning that it is a real disorder. You are not alone in this, and we encourage you to seek support groups and educate family and friends. 

Communicate with your family and loved ones that you aren't angry at them, and create safe spaces in your home. Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome Misophonia. 

What is Misophonia? Causes and Treatment

Do you have sudden outbursts of rage just listening to your family eating dinner? 

Or perhaps you hear your friend typing on her laptop and experience the sudden, uncontrollable urge to throw it out the window.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault.

About 20 percent of the population suffers from a disorder called Misophonia.

 


If you can’t stand the sound of people chewing or pencils tapping, there’s actually a clinical reason behind it. 

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is a disorder that causes the patient to feel sudden surges of anger, or even irrational panic when exposed to certain trigger sounds. The most common trigger sounds are people eating, chewing gum, or other oral noises. Additional trigger sounds include repetitive tapping, like a coworker typing or drumming on the desk.

The anger is involuntary and can often create problems within family relationships and even ruin social outings.

 

Is Misophonia a Mental Illness?

Misophonia is not a mental illness, nor is it a psychiatric or hearing disorder.

However, it is a proven brain disorder. On brain scans, the anterior insula shows increased activation when exposed to trigger noises. When the anterior insula is activated, the body goes into a state of heightened anxiety.

Additionally, patients with Misophonia experience abnormal connectivity in regions of the brain that process emotion causing the patient to respond irrationally.

 

What Causes Misophonia?

There is no proven cause of misophonia, but there are several theories. For one, there are usually several family members with Misophonia suggesting that it might be genetic. Many people believe that it stems from problems in the central nervous system as the patient’s response is emotional.

Others believe that some Misophonia cases may be a conditioned response. A conditioned response means that the person had a negative experience with a particular sound in the past and now associates the sound with negativity.  

People with tinnitus, OCD, and anxiety disorders are also at higher risk. 

Misophonia is also more common in women than in men. One study showed that about 18 percent of women were strongly affected by trigger noises, while only about 11 percent of men felt strong reactions. 

Additionally, Misophonia usually first shows up between the ages of 9 and 13, and the first signs are often brushed off as hormonal issues.

 

Misophonia Treatment

While there is no cure, there are treatments for Misophonia. If you have a mild case of Misophonia, you may be able to control it with diet, exercise, and quality sleep.

If you’re around trigger noises, consider using white noise or even listening to white noise through headphones.

Unfortunately, some cases may be too severe for these techniques to be effective. For more severe cases, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In this scenario, the medical professional works with the patient to create a positive experience with trigger noises, teaching the mind that these noises do not need to activate the fight or flight part of the brain.

You may also choose to attend counseling sessions with family members so that they learn that the anger is not directed at them, nor is it something you can control.

 

Conclusion

Misophonia is still a rarely known disease, and there is a lot of room for research. Many people have suffered from Misophonia for years and are just now learning that it is a real disorder. You are not alone in this, and we encourage you to seek support groups and educate family and friends.

Communicate with your family and loved ones that you aren't angry at them, and create safe spaces in your home. Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome Misophonia. 

  

  

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