Background: Misophonia is a disorder in which patients suffer from anger or disgust when confronted with specific sounds such as loud chewing or breathing, causing avoidance of cue-related situations resulting in significant functional impairment. Though the first treatment studies with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) showed promising results, an average of 50% of the patients has not improved much clinically. Objective: The aim of this pilot study was to assess the effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as a trauma-focused approach in treating misophonia symptoms. Method: A sample of 10 adult participants with misophonia was studied at the outpatient clinic of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. Participants were either on the waiting list for CBT or non-responders to CBT. EMDR was focused on misophonia-related emotionally disturbing memories and delivered in a mean of 2.6 sessions of 60–90 minutes. Pre- and post-treatment self-assessed ratings of misophonia symptoms (AMISOS-R, primary outcome), of general psychopathology (SCL-90-R) and of quality of life (SDS) were administered. The co-primary outcome was the Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale (CGI-I). Results: A paired t-test (n = 8) showed improvement on the primary outcome (−6.14 [MD], 5.34 [SD]) on the AMISOS-R (P = .023). Three of the eight patients showed clinically significant improvement measured with the CGI-I. No significant effect on secondary outcomes was found. Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that EMDR therapy focused on emotionally disturbing misophonia-related memories can reduce misophonia symptoms. RCTs with sufficient sample sizes are required to firmly establish the value of EMDR therapy for misophonia.
- case series
- eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
- preliminary effect
- trauma-focused psychotherapy