October 24, 1994

Tinnitus, Psychosis, and Suicide

Author Affiliations

Belmont, Mass

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(20):2371-2375. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420200127015

Sullivan and colleagues1 describe the successful use of nortriptyline in the treatment of depression and tinnitus. We would like to inform the readers about other connections between psychiatric disorders and tinnitus.

We have seen one elderly woman who was hospitalized on an inpatient psychiatric unit because of complaints of tinnitus. She had a history of recurrent depressions. At the time of admission, she talked about "wanting to end it all" because of the tinnitus. She was agitated and hostile. She refused treatment, left the hospital against medical advice, and made a serious suicide attempt. She eventually responded well to electroconvulsive therapy.

Another middle-aged patient had a paranoid disorder and also complained of tinnitus. He wrote to his psychiatrist: "... there has been a constant unnatural whine in my ears. I would like your help to put a complete stop to this cruel torture... I am normal in my reaction to

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