A pretty name for a mental disorder

Have you ever noticed that the noise of someone eating or snoring infuriated or disturbed you so badly that you had to react somehow?

Then you might have misophonia.

Also called Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome (4s), misophonia is an intense reaction to various stimuli such as sounds or sights. It is a neurological condition that makes any specific stimuli initiate an immediate and involuntary response from your brain, triggering a feeling of extreme anger or anxiety. It can, for example, clench your jaw or tense your muscles and you feel the urge to get away from this noise by all means.

Misophonia can occur at any age, it is triggered by an experience. One day you hear a specific, random sound, something happens in your head and it makes you flinch. Then it is likely to never stop. You will always have this protective reflex when hearing this sound. It can be anything; something that a healthy mind would not even notice. Chewing, breathing, fingers cracking, pen clicking, whistling, birds chirping… This has nothing to do with the volume of the sound, but with the sound itself. As soon as you hear it, even in a distance, you snap.

“Misos” means dislike or hatred, “phonia” means sound; Misophonia means ‘hatred of sounds’. This name was first mentioned in 2001 by Pawel and Margaret M. Jastreboff. The condition had only been considered an illness since 1990, it is recent, and this explains why it is not well recognized nowadays. Misophonia is not currently in the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals, it is not a part of doctors’ trainings, though it can get very serious.

Tom Dozier

Tom Dozier is a behaviorist, specialized in misophonia and author of various articles on the topic. He takes a great part in the research for misophonia and its cures, and he holds sessions of support through the process of healing. According to him, severe enough misophonia can, if not treated, make every day a torture for its host, and even lead to suicide. If the noise cannot be avoided, it can attack someone’s mental health really badly, since they feel assaulted by those sounds all the time. Misophonia often comes with anxiety, depression or eating disorders. There is a scale made to evaluate the severity of one’s misophonia: it is called the Amsterdam Misophonia Scale and it is based on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale made to measure OCDs. It is a condition that is very easy to diagnose, it only takes a test with the triggers which can be very fast.

 Many treatments are available today to reduce misophonia severity; a kind of hypnotherapy was developed by Chris Pearson especially for it. Dozier’s Trigger Tamer Apps are designed to help and accompany people with misophonia throughout their therapy, as an additional exercise. Dr. Mitchell’s cognitive behavioral treatment can also provide solutions. The first step towards healing is for the person to know what misophonia is, only then the different therapies have the chance to be efficient. There are as many different journeys to full recovery as people with misophonia. Usually, it takes 3 to 6 months of therapy to greatly reduce severity or heal completely.

Everything one needs is to understand that the fact that those reactions and violent thoughts that occur every time they hear or see something are not to be taken lightly; it is a disease and as a disease, it can be effectively treated and often eliminated.

            Today, almost every time I mention misophonia to someone, I am likely to get this answer: “What is misophonia?” However, misophonia exists, you have already encountered it, maybe you live with it yourself. It affects 10 to 15 % of the population and definitely deserves our attention. Knowledge is the first step towards healing.

If you know someone struggling with it, you should know how to react: you should not get mad at them, neither should you try to “reason” them into not reacting, not paying attention. You should, instead, comfort them, because they could be having a really hard time: talk to them, help them relax. Take it seriously. This disorder needs to be acknowledged by the medicine institutions to make the diagnose easier and more accessible. It will be a lot more efficient if people know about it. Now, when you hear the word “misophonia”, you will be able to understand what kind of suffering is hidden behind that beautiful name.

“Believe that it is real, because it is very real” is the last thing Tom Dozier said to me before taking off to provide assistance to another person in need.

Sources :


*What is Misophonia? | Definition, Causes & Treatment | Misophonia Institute

*Frontiers | Investigating Misophonia: A Review of the Empirical Literature, Clinical Implications, and a Research Agenda | Neuroscience (frontiersin.org)

*Living with Misophonia – YouTube

*All About Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome (misophonia) – YouTube

*deb_pone.0054706 1..5 (misophoniatreatment.com)

*Ferrer-Torres, 2021, Covid and Misophonia

*Dozier, Lopez, and Pearson, 2017 Diagnostic Criteria for Misophonia

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Post Author: Isciane Lallement

My name is Isciane and I'm a French soul. I came here so I could explore the world a little while I'm young and free, and maybe share a part of my life with those who surround me. I deeply love history, literature, combat sports, videogames and music, not a huge fan of broccoli or being photographed though. Actually I think I'm a sweet person, calm and discreet; I'm always open to talk, and share with anybody who is interested.

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