The Relationship Between Misophonia and OCD

  • Misophonia and OCD are both neurologically-based disorders with emotional and behavioral components
  • A person can have both misophonia and OCD
  • However, not all people with OCD have misophonia, and not all people with misophonia have OCD
  • The DSM 5 expanded the classification and criterion for OCD to “Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders”
  • Within this category are obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), body-dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania (hair pulling), excoriation (skin picking), substance/medication-induced obsessive-compulsive and related disorder, and unspecified obsessive disorder

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both:
  • Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.
  • The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion).

Differences of OCD and Misophonia

  • Misophonia includes aversive reactivity to environmental stimuli from outside (not just cognitive)
  • Obsession with sound is not due to “obsession itself” but due to an intrusion via outside stimuli
  • Inability to look away from triggers also not “obsession” (related to threat response)
  • Cognitive behavior therapies and medication are the standard treatments for OCD
  • Cognitive behavior therapies may help a person with misophonia but only as part of a larger coping skills plan (due to quick reactivity of amygdala which kicks of the sympathetic nervous system/fight/flight)
  • Misophonia and OCD are not the same
  • Yet, a person can certainly have both and a person can have symptoms of both
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