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Schizophr Res. 1998 Aug 17;32(3):137-50.

Auditory hallucinations: a review of psychological treatments.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


Auditory hallucinations (AH) occur frequently amongst psychiatric patients, being most common in schizophrenia. In 25-30% of cases they are refractory to traditional antipsychotic drugs. A variety of psychosocial treatments have been used, but their efficacy remains unclear. This review aims to bring together the more recent studies of psychological treatments and discuss them in the context of recent cognitive models of hallucinations and functional imaging studies. The search strategy included the following sources: MEDLINE, Embase and Psychlit. Strategies reported by patients can be categorised as: (1) distracting activities, such as listening to music; (2) behavioural tasks, such as taking exercise; (3) cognitive tasks, such as ignoring AH. Almost all the strategies produced some benefit in some patients: treatment often improved AH-associated distress, rather than frequency of AH. There are many difficulties in conducting research on AH. Treatment should be individually tailored and used as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy. Future theory-driven studies need to be based on complex aetiological models and incorporate functional imaging to elucidate the physiological changes induced by therapeutic interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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