Is misophonia a feature of autism, OCD or any other well-known neurological disorders?

by | Mar 8, 2021 | Articles | 1 comment

This is something I’m often asked about.

Is misophonia a feature of autism… OCD… or any other well-known neurological disorders?

The findings from a recent misophonia study can help us here.

This is one of the largest studies to date, with 575 subjects, and shines a spotlight on some interesting stats.

Here is one of the standout findings.

The majority of misophonia subjects have “no comorbid” psychiatric disorders.

What does this mean?

It means that while some misophones may have other ‘disorders’ (such as autism or OCD) running alongside their misophonia, at least 59% do not.

This is a really important point.

Our instinct is often to try and connect misophonia with other disorders, or assume it’s a feature of something else.

This is completely understandable because it’s certainly not unusual, for example, for people on the autism spectrum to have misophonia. It’s also not unusual for people with OCD to have misophonia. Those are just two examples and there are a number of others (including Tourettes and PTSD).

As such it often feels like there could be a causal connection with misophonia and other, better known disorders.

However, while there may be a slightly higher percentage of cases where people with disorder X also have disorder Y, studies like this show that it’s not a prerequisite.

(The study found that around 3% of misophonia subjects had autism and 2.8% had OCD).

It’s fascinating to analyse possible links between disorders.

And I think there may well be some overlaps, parallels or interactions in certain regions of the brain which may explain why, for example, people with autism or OCD are a little more likely to have misophonia, than the general population. It’s just worth remembering that it’s not a given.

What studies like this show is the urgent need for misophonia to be recognised by the World Health Organisation, and in the DSM-5 (in the US), as disorders in their own right.

(Rather than being seen as a side-effect or bolt on that comes with other, more established disorders).

We’ll get there, one day. It’s just frustrating it takes the bureaucrats so long to catch up with the science.

Another interesting finding from the study was that “visual triggers [misokinesia] were often reported” in “68%” of subjects.

In other words, the majority of people with misophonia also have misokinesia, a sensitivity to visual movements, such as face touching or fidgeting. (You can read more about misokinesia here).

Again, this highlights the urgent need for more studies to focus on, or at least incorporate, misokinesia in their investigations.

There are lots more interesting findings and you can find more details and a link to the full report here.

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1 Comment

  1. Rachel Morici-Leirer

    I have been interested in researching the link between chronic inflammatory conditions and misophonia. I have a child genetically predisposed to parent’s misophonia that developed worsening misophonia upon onset of PANS/PANDAS and autoimmune encephalitis. More than mental illness (which also needs more research re. Infections in the body as triggers), is there an underlying trigger of autoimmune or neuroimmune issues underneath this sensory symptom??


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