What can be done about sound anxiety? I feel like I am going to explode when I hear people chewing gum or eating. I can't stand to hear my sons video games either.

Hi Pbeany2, Without having

Hi Pbeany2,

Without having more details I can provide only a fairly general response. This must be especially distressing because it would be very difficult to avoid people altogether when they are eating or chewing gum.

As for your son's video games - some practical things that may help would be 1) to require him to keep the volume turned down fairly low; 2) to limit the amount of time he plays video games - which is in the best interest of your son any way; 3) if you limit his time, you can also make a set time for it (e.g., 1 hour per day after dinner or after school) - and during that time you could make sure you have tasks / chores / something to do that would keep you busy and in a different room of the house.

As for the chewing and eating - doing things that help anxiety in genera may help to some degree. For example, practicing yoga or meditating (just getting quiet and still for 10 to 15 minutes a day and focusing on nothing but your breathing) are known to help reduce stress and anxiety. Regular aerobic exercise (such as running, brisk walking, etc) will also help reduce stress and anxiety. Learning techniques to help you relax (such as deep breathing or progressive relaxation) when you are subjected to these noises may also be helpful.

Ultimately, though, you may need psychotherapy. There may be underlying issues that make you want to "explode" that may need to be addressed and resolved. Also, a skilled therapist can help you find ways to manage the anxiety and irritation you feel, as well as help you learn relaxation techniques.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best!

Dr. Lane

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