Are you someone who prefers to eat alone and ditch your friends because that cheering sound really irritates you? Do you feel agitated when the person sitting next to you starts breathing loudly? If your answer to these questions is a yes then you must know that you might be suffering from a serious mental disorder. Getting triggered by hearing certain sounds and reacting to it in the form of anger and irritation can be an indication that you are suffering from a condition termed Misophonia. The word itself describes the condition where the term “miso” means anger and “phone” means voice. People with misophonia disorder are hypersensitive to certain sounds such as tapping, typing, chewing, clicking and even breathing. Let us go further and take a deep dive into this article and know the symptoms, treatment and management tips for this condition with Dr. Saloni Gupta, Consultant, Psychology, Max Superspeciality Hospital, Dehradun.
What is Misophonia?
Meso means hate and phone means voice. This term was coined in the year 2000 and according to researchers this is a specific condition that is a serious mental disorder which was earlier understood as a comorbid disorder. There are no specific causes behind it but It is a condition that is manifested in the form of hatred towards certain sounds. These sounds can be pen clicking, typing, tapping, chewing and even breathing. People with misophonia disorder are hypersensitive to these sounds. Hypersensitivity is something that can also be seen as autism spectrum disorder. His condition of hypersensitivity can be seen in children suffering from autism, people with OCD, patients of anxiety and there are a whole lot of comorbid conditions in which hypersensitivity can be seen.
Symptoms of Misophonia
The condition of misophonia leads to an intense reaction towards triggering sounds in the form of anger and aggression. When people suffering from misophonia hear such sounds, they react in the form of anger, irritation that leads to avoidance. People start to avoid that particular situation in anticipation that I might hear that sound which leads to several dysfunctionalities. Here are some of the common trigger sound to which a person suffering from misophonia might get triggered by-
- Clearing throat
- Lip smacking
- Pen tapping
The way a person is going to respond to these trigger sounds depends upon the intensity of the sound and the strength tocontrol themselves. These sounds might make them lose control and come in as a hindrance to their daily life activities due to which they might react in the form of -
- Emotional distress
- Physical outburst
Treatment for Misophonia
Falling under the autism spectrum, misophonia is a condition of serious mental disorder that is treatable. Dr. Saloni Gupta Explains about the treatment options available to treat the condition of misophonia- “If I talk about pharmacotherapy or treating the condition with medicines, medication provides a symptomatic treatment for anger, irritation or behavioral changes in the form of depression and hence meds are given for a symptomatic treatment. For long term treatment, CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy is said to be very effective in these cases which works upon the theory of conditioned response.”
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Where a medical treatment is important in case of such serious mental disorders, one must also know the ways to manage their response towards these triggers so that the condition could be managed effectively and on spot. Here are some of the management tips as suggested by Dr. Gupta for the condition of misophonia-
- Don't avoid- One should not avoid these conditions as exposing yourself to a fear will gradually help to bring down that anxiety. If a person starts to avoid this condition at an initial stage then it might start fueling their symptoms of anxiety.
- Relaxation strategies- Relaxation strategies and therapies are there which work in the form of breathing exercises. These therapies are very effective but are not suggested for people who face some or the other kinds of breathing issues.
Other coping strategies are also available to manage this condition which differs from person to person and therapy is tailored for an individual depending upon their condition. Acceptance based treatments make the person accept that whatever sounds they are hearing needs to be let go and they have to give up on the abusive behaviour.
With inputs from Dr. Saloni Gupta, Consultant, Psychology, Max Superspeciality Hospital, Dehradun.