Outcome of habit cough in children treated with a brief session of suggestion therapy

Ann Allergy. 1991 Dec;67(6):579-82.


Nine patients with habit cough, initially misdiagnosed as asthma, were treated during a period of sustained repetitive symptoms with a brief session of suggestion therapy. Symptoms had previously been present for up to 2 years (median = 2 months). Five had been hospitalized for the cough. Evaluation revealed no physiologic or radiologic abnormality. All patients became symptom free during a 15-minute session of suggestion therapy. During the subsequent week, one remained completely asymptomatic and 8 had transient minor relapses that were readily self-controlled. Seven of the 9 could be contacted for determination of long-term outcome at periods up to 9 years (median 2.2 years) after the session. Six were totally asymptomatic; one had occasional minor self-controlled symptoms. A standardized questionnaire assessing psychologic symptoms at the time of follow-up revealed no somatization nor emotional distress. In contrast to this apparent cure, others have reported extended periods of continued symptoms in the absence of a uniform treatment plan for suggestion therapy even though the correct diagnosis was made. We conclude that the classical habit cough syndrome is amenable to immediate relief and long-term cure in most cases with a single session of appropriate suggestion therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cough / epidemiology
  • Cough / psychology*
  • Cough / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Suggestion*