Do noisy eaters or nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? Your strong dislike for specific sounds might be a symptom of a syndrome you're suffering from -- misophonia.
Though the condition was recognized in 2000, research related to its cause and prevalence remained limited. Moreover, those who experience the syndrome were not often taken seriously. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2014 suggested that the condition affect 20 percent of the population, while a 2015 study argued that it's associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety.
What is Misophonia?
According to Misophonia Institute, it is a severe sensitivity towards specific sounds. When they hear the sounds, they have a very strong emotional reaction such as rage, anxiety, and resentment. The noise could be of someone chewing, yawning, or whistling. People with misophonia often report that they feel that the person is intentionally making the sound even though maybe they're not.
Symptoms of misophonia
The reaction to the sound one hates can vary from mild to severe. Mild reactions include feeling anxious, uncomfortable and disgust. In severe cases, the sound might cause rage, anger, anxiety, fear, panic, hatred, the desire to kill or stop whatever is making the noise and even suicidal thoughts, according to WebMD.
Causes of misophonia
The exact reason for the condition is not known, but it is seen more often in girls. It can start from the age of 9-13. According to Misophonia Institute, the sound might directly activate the Autonomic Nervous System located in the brain stem and the Limbic System, which is associated with emotion. It might trigger a reflex reaction when the sound is heard.
The condition affects day to day life but can be managed with therapies combined with psychological counseling.