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One of the newest members of our team, Chartered Psychologist and Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist Dr Alistair McBeath writes about the fascinating phobia known as misophonia.  Read on to find out more!

 


 

"I recently came across a condition that was completely new to me; it is called misophonia. The word itself literally means ‘hatred of sound’. Now, there are sounds that most of us dislike e.g. nails screeching across a blackboard but misophonia is something much more intense and potentially quite problematic. The term misophonia was first described by American scientists in 2001 and has some very interesting features.

  • Sufferers of misophonia typically experience intense anger and rage towards certain sounds.
  • Chewing and breathing figure very high as ‘trigger sounds’
  • The closer, emotionally, a person is to the person making the sound – the more intense the reaction tends to be.
  • Typical onset age is around 12 years of age.
  • There is evidence that misophonia can ‘grow’ if untreated to include more sounds and even behaviours associated with certain sounds.

From reading misophonia sufferers’ accounts - one puzzling fact emerges. It’s not the sound that is hated but the person making the sound. 

As one might suspect, there are varying opinions regarding the cause of misophonia and this is reflected in the array of treatment options currently offered. There is one very basic difference in opinion – is misophonia a physiological condition (with hypothesized autonomic nervous system dysfunction) or is it a psychological condition?

Among the treatment options currently offered for misophonia are Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), habituation therapy and what’s termed neural “re-patterning” technique.

With misophonia being such a recently recognized clinical condition; there are two major consequences – there is little or no information on the incidence rate of the condition and there is scant awareness of the condition amongst clinicians."

For more information check out the UK misophonia self help group:http://www.misophonia-uk.org

To find out more about our anxiety and phobia services visit www.edinburghpsychologyservices.co.uk.   To book an appointment with Alistair or one of our team, contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0131 215 1066.

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