Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Shown to Help People Suffering from Misophonia

According to a recent study, cognitive behavioral therapy may be the solution for patients with misophonia, The Daily Beast reports.

Misophonia, which literally means “hatred of sound,” is a rare condition that causes affected individuals to have intense and involuntary emotional reactions to specific sounds. These emotional reactions can range from mild to very strong. They include anything from disgust and rage, to anxiety, fear, and other serious emotional distress with violence and suicidal thoughts. Patients may also experience a physical reaction of their skin crawling. To learn more about misophonia, click here.

Misophonia patients may have a reaction to any sound, such as the sound of a pen clicking, gum being chewed, or water pouring. These reactions can be very debilitating in daily life and functioning. That’s where the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) comes in.

The study’s first trial, which was recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, claims that CBT is an effective treatment for misophonia patients. CBT is a type of talk therapy that works to change and challenge negative behavioral, thought, and emotional patterns. The big value of it, according to Fordham psychology professor Dean McKay, is that it teaches patients coping methods. Since there are lots of environments that are beyond our control, when patients have tools and strategies to tolerate negative sounds, their functioning will improve.

Since CBT is very individualized, these coping strategies can cater to the specific stimuli and symptoms. It can help desensitize patients of all ages to triggering sounds and visuals.

In the study, the research team treated ninety misophonia patients with CBT for eight group sessions, over the course of a few months. Their results found that the therapy was effective for half of the group’s participants. Even more interesting, the patients with more intense symptoms had a higher likelihood of responding to treatment.

The team was motivated to conduct this project because there had been so little misophonia research conducted prior, despite the fact that misophonia patients suffer significantly.

Results were promising; for example, patients were able to focus on the discussion they were having, only realizing after the fact that someone had been chewing on an apple during it. This, along with a lack of accompanying anxiety, was a breakthrough.

Hopefully, with this success, more people suffering from misophonia will be able to seek treatment, and more studies will be conducted to treat this disease.

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