Title

Musical Obsessions: A Comprehensive Review of Neglected Clinical Phenomena

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Intrusive musical imagery (IMI) consists of involuntarily recalled, short, looping fragments of melodies. Musical obsessions are distressing, impairing forms of IMI that merit investigation in their own right and, more generally, research into these phenomena may broaden our understanding of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is phenomenologically and etiologically heterogeneous. We present the first comprehensive review of musical obsessions, based on the largest set of case descriptions ever assembled (N = 96). Characteristics of musical obsessions are described and compared with normal IMI, musical hallucinations, and visual obsessional imagery. Assessment, differential diagnosis, comorbidity, etiologic hypotheses, and treatments are described. Musical obsessions may be under-diagnosed because they are not adequately assessed by current measures of OCD. Musical obsessions have been misdiagnosed as psychotic phenomena, which has led to ineffective treatment. Accurate diagnosis is important for appropriate treatment. Musical obsessions may respond to treatments that are not recommended for prototypic OCD symptoms.

Article Number

1417

Publication Date

2014

Language

English

Version

Published

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.