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The Stuck Song Syndrome: A Case of Musical Obsessions

Juan Manuel Orjuela Rojas, Ingrid Lizeth Lizarazo Rodríguez

(Department of Psychiatry, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Pontifical Javeriana University), Bogotá, Colombia)

Am J Case Rep 2018; 19:1329-1333

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.912402

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.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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