Other People’s Chewing Drives Me Nuts!

Reader’s Question

I cannot stand to eat around other people because I cannot stand the noise. The sound of other people’s chewing, biting, smacking just drives me nuts! I try to tune it out but end up focusing on the noise. Can you help me put a label on this condition? I have other symptoms of OCD like counting, and constant checking, but I have never been diagnosed by a professional.

Psychologist’s Reply

Some of the symptoms of OCD and related disorders can be of the “classical” variety like obsessive counting and checking. But any activity that commands obsessive focus and from which you cannot disengage yourself can also qualify as an obsession. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a genuine brain disorder for which there there are effective treatments. Some studies have shown that whether the treatment is strictly medical or cognitive-behavioral, the same necessary changes in brain activity occur. If your situation has not yet been evaluated by a mental health professional, be assured that good diagnosis and treatment can dramatically improve your quality of life.

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