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07 November 2018 : Case report  Colombia

The Stuck Song Syndrome: A Case of Musical Obsessions

Rare disease

Juan Manuel Orjuela Rojas1ABCDEF*, Ingrid Lizeth Lizarazo Rodríguez2CDEF

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.912402

Am J Case Rep 2018; 19:1329-1333


BACKGROUND: Historically, clinical researchers have underestimated the prevalence and importance of musical obsessions, which are defined as intrusive, repetitive, persistent sounds or tunes, not controlled by the will, that cause clinically significant anxiety and distress. Musical obsessions have also been described as the “stuck song syndrome” and their prevalence is not clearly established, because few cases have been reported.

CASE REPORT: This study reports a case of a 32-year-old female with a history of musical obsessions over the course of 12 years. She suffered episodes in which she heard repetitive musical fragments in her head, such as the chorus lines or portions of known or unknown songs, that caused high levels of anxiety in her daily life. The symptoms led her to introduce compulsive behaviors such as listening to the song that matched with the obsessive song. Treatment with fluoxetine 60 mg/day for 12 weeks reduced obsessive symptoms by 60%, improving her quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: This case allowed us to explore the semiological spectrum that encompasses musical imagery, in which concepts that belong to normality are involved, such as musical imagination, involuntary musical imagery, and sticky songs, and other concepts that deal with psychopathological aspects such as musical obsessions, musical hallucinations, and palinacousis. Additionally, the case showed us an atypical form of compulsion that accompanied musical obsession, in which the patient sought to complete the obsessive content with real music. Treatment with fluoxetine 60 mg/day generated a symptomatic response but not remission of symptoms.

Keywords: Music, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors

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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923