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J Pediatr. 2004 Feb;144(2):213-7.

Childhood habit cough treated with self-hypnosis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.



To better understand factors associated with the development and persistence of habit cough and to report use of self-hypnosis for this condition.


A retrospective chart review was performed for 56 children and adolescents with habit cough. Interested patients were instructed in self-hypnosis for relaxation and to help ignore the cough-triggering sensation.


The patients' mean age was 10.7 years. The cough was triggered by upper respiratory infections in 59%, asthma in 13%, exercise in 5%, and eating in 4%. Onset of the cough occurred as early as 2 years, and its average duration was 13 months (range, 2 weeks to 7 years). There was a high incidence of abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome in the 50% of the patients who missed more than 1 week of school because of their cough. Among the 51 patients who used hypnosis, the cough resolved during or immediately after the initial hypnosis instruction session in 78% and within 1 month in an additional 12%.


Habit cough is triggered by various physiologic conditions, related frequently to other diagnoses, and it is associated with significant school absence. Self-hypnosis offers a safe efficient treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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