Misophonia is a condition in which certain sounds trigger an extremely agitated reaction. Individuals with the disorder find these sounds unpleasant and experience heightened emotional reactions to them. Others often find these reactions to be unreasonable given the seemingly-benign nature of the sound. The emotions of a patient with misophonia might involve annoyance, anger, panic, or a desire to flee. Many individuals with misophonia are triggered by sounds of chewing and breathing. Other common trigger sounds are windshield wipers, repetitive finger tapping, and keyboard tapping. Misophonia patients may have worsened reactions when seeing visual stimuli with the sound, like someone joggling their foot or a mouth opening and closing. Research suggests the condition is caused by a problem with how the brain filters noise.
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Treatments for misophonia tend to take an integrated approach including lifestyle adjustments and different types of therapy. Supportive counseling can be helpful for those with the condition. Many patients experience deep emotional distress with regards to their trigger sounds. They may even have traumatic experiences they need to work through, especially if others have exposed them to trigger sounds without consent on purpose. Oftentimes, individuals with misophonia also have a deep sense of embarrassment about their condition. It can cause social relationships to suffer and be the source of emotional dysregulation problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that teaches patients to redirect and alter their negative thoughts to decrease their suffering. The therapist may also pair trigger sounds with positive stimuli to create a better association.
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