Misophonia, which literally means “hatred or dislike of sound,” is characterized by mild to extreme negative emotional reactions to noises and audial triggers. Even mild cases of misophonia are worth discussing with a mental health professional. If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of misophonia, talking to a psychotherapist may help address some of the triggers and alleviate anxiety related to misophonia.
While still unrecognized by the American Psychological Association as an official entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), misophonia is a real condition that researchers have identified as separate from anger issues, anxiety, or any other mental health diagnosis. It is sometimes considered, mistakenly, a new issue or phenomenon; however, research indicates this concept has previously been known by other names, such as soft sound sensitivity symptom, select sound sensitivity syndrome, decreased sound tolerance, or sound-rage.
Because misophonia is relatively unknown and can remain unidentified even in those who experience it, there are no reliable statistics regarding how prevalent it is worldwide or in the United States. Some studies have shown misophonia is more likely to affect white women under age 30, but these may be slightly skewed due to the mode of study (for example, this demographic is also more likely to use and respond to surveys on social media). The more research on the topic, the more evidence supports recognizing misophonia as a psychiatric condition.
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