Misophonia Awareness Will Encourage Research
We are all in this together – and we are glad you are visiting our site. This is our online meeting place, where we can help spread awareness of Misophonia. Family members and friends, not understanding the nature of this condition, often tell the sufferer to “get over it.” This is not within the power of the afflicted individual and may likely only increase the sufferer’s mental anguish.
By bringing the community together, we can help educate others, share treatment stories, and encourage research. We are hoping to do big things for our community. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/599699683457116/
Hand your Family or Friend a Bracelet and this Letter
This letter is an attempt to explain the medical condition termed “Misophonia” or “4S” for Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome. While this problem is just beginning to be researched by the medical community, Misophonia is a very real condition that may be the result of a signal/processing condition in the brain.
Misophonia sufferers typically have strong negative emotional reactions, ranging from annoyance to extreme rage, to a variety of sounds–frequently associated with mouth and nasal sounds such as chewing, slurping or breathing. However, reactions can be triggered by many different sounds such as sniffing, pens clicking, heel-tapping, typing, dogs barking and so on. For some, simply the sight of one of these behaviors can trigger an intense reaction. Some Misophonia sufferers also have purely visual triggers such as jiggling legs or other repetitive movement which can set off a reaction. Each individual has different triggers and also has different emotional reactions. While mild sufferers of Misophonia may feel tense or irritated, more severe cases involve uncontrollable outbursts of anger and even the visualisation of violent encounters.
It is very important to realize that the individual with Misophonia has limited control over their reactions. They realize that their sensitivities to these sounds are irrational, however their brains are hijacked and their emotional centers are automatically activated. This “fight or flight” reflex is triggered as it would be when a human experiences a life-threatening situation. There is often a strong need to flee the scene.
Many people with Misophonia suffer for years in silence, believing that they are the only ones experiencing this reaction and that they must be “crazy.” They feel that they are in a unique situation where others do not or cannot share these reactions. Sufferers often try many different strategies to avoid or cope with their triggers including earplugs, eating in isolation, white noise generators, prescribed medications, alcohol and drug abuse/self-medication, typical psychological approaches such as therapy or counseling. None of these appear to provide significant relief. Misophonia leaves sufferers feeling misunderstood, isolated, and hopeless. In extreme cases, sufferers can become deeply depressed and even suicidal.
Those with Misophonia are unable to habituate or tune out noises that are considered typical background noise. They experience constant information overload, making concentration at work or school very difficult. Their reactions can be so intense as to cause them to drop out of school or resign from jobs. Allowing special accommodations at work or in school will help the sufferer learn and work more productively.
Family members and friends, not understanding the nature of this condition, often tell the sufferer to “get over it.” This is not within the power of the afflicted individual and may likely only increase the sufferer’s mental anguish. Imagine the typical reaction most people have to fingernails scratching down a chalkboard–extremely irritating, intolerable to some. This is somewhat similar to the uncontrollable reaction those with Misophonia experience with each trigger noise, although the Misophonia sufferer experiences more panic and rage. When a sufferer responds with annoyance or anger toward the sound, it more often than not is met with annoyance and frustration by the person making the offending noise. In that moment, it is very difficult for the sufferer to distinguish between the noise and its maker. Reactions by the sufferer and the offending noise maker can rapidly escalate, leading to unpleasant situations and a deterioration in personal relationships. Until the individual with Misophonia can seek help in alleviating his or her reaction, which some may not be able to do, friends and family can assist by remaining calm during trigger noise situations and understanding that the sufferer’s reaction is to the offending sound and not to the person making it.
Hopefully, understanding the nature of Misophonia will help family and friends to be more accommodating to the sufferer’s plight.
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