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Misophonia in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Friday 23 May 2014

 

From About.com's Adrienne Dellwo:

 

Hearing
 

Misophonia in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

By Adrienne Dellwo
May 20, 2014

Do some sounds make you anxious? What about angry?

We've talked before here about how fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) make us sensitive to sounds. What I hear most often is that repetitive sounds make us anxious and can lead to a panic attack.

Then I recently heard about a neurological condition called misophonia, in which certain sounds can lead not only to anxiety, but to anger or even rage. I know that some sounds – especially mouth noises while eating – make me angry rather than anxious. A close family member is even worse about it and also flies off the handle at sniffling or joint cracking. It seems possible that both of us have misophonia. That, plus a few other things about it, made me wonder whether this is behind the noise sensitivity that's so prevalent in our community.

Scant research has been done on misophonia, but what has been done suggests that it's linked to:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears,) which is common in both FMS & ME/CFS;
  • Two areas of the brain which research links to FMS & ME/CFS - the insular cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, which process pain, anger, and sensory input;
  • Dysfunctional structures in the central nervous system and autonomic arousal ("fight-or-flight" response,) which is consistent with theories about underlying mechanisms of FMS & ME/CFS;
  • Anxiety and depression, which are common in FMS & ME/CFS;
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD,) which some research suggests may be more common in us.

A lot of misphonia appears to revolve around bodily sounds. Along with the ones I've mentioned, fingernail clipping is a common trigger. Nobody knows why so far.

We don't yet know much about treating misophonia. Some people report that neuro feedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and general stress management can help. It seems to me that the important thing for us at this stage is recognizing it so we can try to manage it. If you get a better understanding of what your triggers are, you can work with your friends and family to minimize your exposure to those sounds, or, when you are exposed, you can use relaxation techniques to mitigate your reaction.

It's also something you can talk to your doctor about to see if he/she has any suggestions. If you're diagnosed with it, you should also be able to get reasonable accommodation to help you deal with it at work.

A prevalence study showed that misophonia was present in about 20% of participants. While it's not scientifically accurate, I thought a poll here would be interesting. So please, whether or not you think you may have it, take the poll!

I also want to know about your experience with possible misophonia. What are your triggers? How severe is your reaction? Have you been able to lessen your response? Leave your comments here!

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The above, with comments, originally appeared here.

 


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