Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Tinnitus-Induced Psychoses Improve with CBT

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Tinnitus-Induced Psychoses Improve with CBT

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- Brief group cognitive-behavioral therapy appears to relieve the distress, depression, and dysfunction often associated with tinnitus, Dr. Shannon K. Robinson reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Tinnitus, a common condition affecting 37 million Americans, impairs the quality of life and productivity in as many as 20% of patients who are afflicted. It also is associated with substantial psychiatric comorbidity in up to 40%-60% of patients, who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder.

Even greater numbers appear to suffer from subsyndromal depression, noted Dr. Robinson.

"It's surprising how impaired some of these patients are; some have become agoraphobic--they have quit going to movies, sporting events, and restaurants because they're afraid the noise level will make their tinnitus worse," said Dr. Robinson of the University of California, San Diego.

Medication and surgery have been ineffective in reducing the intensity or impairment of tinnitus. The rationale for cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in part, recognizes that those who attend more to internal stimuli have more severe depression, distress, and higher levels of perceived handicap.

"Distress is not associated with loudness or pitch of the sound, but how much attention is given to it. CBT teaches skills to modulate attention," she said.

Dr. Robinson reported data from a study of 69 patients complaining of a high degree of distress due to tinnitus. …

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