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For a complete discussion of the results, click here or see "Descriptive Statistics of Misophonia" on academica.edu.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychotherapy that approaches behavior and feelings as interactive with and controlled through thought, seems to be the most effective therapy. Although sufferers of all ages may feel victimized and unable to suppress anger, children are particularly susceptible to feeling powerless. Creating new beliefs through cognition can be empowering. Self-talk that includes statements like, "I can handle this. It's okay to feel angry. This situation and my anger will pass and I'll get better at handling this every time." reinforces the individual’s capability to gain control and bolster forward thinking optimism that things will improve.
Mindfulness and relaxation exercises counter the negative impact of physiological arousal and the brain’s focus on suffering. In fact, these practices relax those parts of the brain that are automatically attuned to attend to trigger stimuli. They are especially powerful when coupled with cognitive self-talk. Deep breathing exercises play a powerful role in altering stress levels.
Specialized Coaching to learn life skills such as self-compassion and empathy. Because the discomfort from triggers is unprovoked, it often leads the sufferer to feel victimized, although this feeling may not be a conscious one. Empathy blocks thoughts that lead to hatred and blame and relaxes an otherwise aroused mental state. Since empathy can serve to quiet the pain response, it is helpful to have statements that remind oneself that the source of anger is from a neurological disorder, such as, “I am normal. These feelings come from a disorder.” It is also helpful to craft statements that separate the trigger from the person who is creating the trigger, such as, “That person is not really committing a crime or trying to hurt me.”
White noise generators and other blocking mechanisms such as ear plugs, ear buds, and headphones are tools in the arsenal of avoiding sound triggers. They are immediate solutions to a long term problem. There is no evidence that using noise generators reduces trigger expansion or has any effect on subsequent cognitive associations. Sound generators— white noise makers that are used directly at the ear—are available through audiologists. Used in concert with therapy, they are especially valuable in environments where immediate performance is required, such as test taking. Because they block sound, they separate the sufferer from upset because the body remains in a less aroused state. The need for the hypervigilance that transfers attention from performance on a task (any task at hand) to attention on potential triggers is reduced or eliminated.
Anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants minimize the depression and anxiety that often accompany misophonia.
Neural feedback Brainwave training, referred to as electroencephalogram biofeedback or neurofeedback, has had a number of applications for neurological disorders. Neurofeedback practitioners believe misophonia to be a neurological disorder in which different regions of the brain lack the ability to communicate with each other. Since it has been shown to an effective treatment with many other neurological disorders, such as attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactive disorder, (ADD/ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), uncontrolled epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is now being used as a treatment for misophonia. Although its success rate with misophonia has not yet been studied or verified, anecdotal evidence suggests a reduction of triggers for a number of subjects.
Supplements such as MSM, magnesium, and Sam-E have been useful for some people.
Age of Onset.
The average age of onset across all ages was 12. This was the average age of onset for baby boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.
The two most prevalent triggers are chewing and eating. These are followed by sniffing, snoring, and licking, triggers that are also associated with the nose and the mouth. A large percentage (68%) reported that sight presented triggers, underscoring the prevalence of visual triggers
Anecdotal reports by people with misophonia indicate that an unknown number of people with misophonia have other occurring sensory sensitivities. Smells presented triggers for16% of the sample. People with misophonia report being touch sensitive, i.e., have sensitivities to wool, tight clothing, turtle neck sweaters, the insides of socks etc. They also report being disturbed by being inadvertently touched in a crowded environment.
#1 Response to a Trigger.
The rankings indicate that anger is the most foremost emotional response associated with a trigger, followed by disgust. Hate becomes more apparent as a third most associated emotion. Fear, which is a key factor in phobias and anxiety disorders, does not appear to be associated with misophonia. Guilt is even less associated with the disorder. When combined, anger and rage account for the most prevalent response. A review of the individual 495 responses found that 99% indicated anger or rage as one of their top three responses. Disgust is listed by 63% of respondents as one of their top three responses.
Number of Triggers.
This survey demonstrates that almost every respondent has two or more triggers.
Triggers by Age.
It appears that the number of triggers is greater as the age progresses. When asked, "Have you ever had a trigger that is no longer a trigger?" 91% of respondents replied no.
Symptoms Through Time.
For the majority of the sample population the disorder has grown significantly worse.
89% have not found any medicine, treatment, or therapy that seems to prevent symptoms. Two percent use alcohol and marijuana as a form of prevention of symptoms.11% describe mechanisms that help to prevent triggers; 3% are from prescribed medications.
81% of the sample population responded “no” to the question, “Have you discussed your misophonia with your doctor?”