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Children's Health

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Hypnosis Halts Habit Coughing

Kids' Coughing Tics End With Self Hypnosis

Psychological Issues at Heart of Problem

Self-hypnosis was most likely to work quickly in kids who hadn't been able to get out of going to school because of their cough. But this so-called "secondary gain" from coughing wasn't the only psychological factor involved.

One boy, for example, got over his cough when his parent told him frankly about a tumor the parent had but was trying to keep secret from the child.

Five of the children underwent psychotherapy for conversion disorder. Conversion disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which children may use a physical symptom -- such as cough -- to divert attention and feelings away from disruptive family issues.

"Instruction in self-hypnosis is more likely to promote patient autonomy and self-reliance," Anbar and colleagues write. "Strengthening of these attributes might facilitate the work of resolving the psychological issues that may have led to development of the cough."

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