Atlanta, March 23, 2000— The voices appear to be genuine, and they aren't going away. They constantly repeat their dreadful words, which might incite suicide or even murder, from deep within a schizophrenia patient's skull. > span class= "pull-quote">The voices seem to be real, but they're not something you can see or touch.
Although psychiatrists used to believe that hallucinations were evidence of a mental disorder, they now know that many people have had these experiences at one time or another. Hallucinations are defined as perceptions in the mind that are independent of any physical stimulus. Voices are types of hallucinations that most often occur in patients with schizophrenia or other psychoses. Patients may hear their own voice or others voices talking, shouting, singing, or whispering. Sometimes the voices are accusatory (i.e., they blame the patient for some wrong doing) or critical (i.e., they ridicule the patient). Others times the voices make threats; for example, they may tell the patient that someone else is going to kill him or her. Still other times the voices sound like someone shouting instructions or telling jokes.
The patient may think that the voices come from outside sources such as friends, family members, or celebrities. However, doctors now know that many patients with schizophrenia experience their own voices. They just don't realize it because of the constant nature of the phenomenon.
Most typically, persons with schizophrenia may hear several voices that are masculine, harsh, repetitious, authoritative, and interactive, which means the person can ask the voice a question and get some type of response. The person may also see visions that are often violent or disturbing.
Schizophrenics may also hear music or sounds not present in ordinary life. These impressions can be pleasant or unpleasant, but they tend to dominate the mind and block out other thoughts. Some examples include hearing musical notes when no one is playing an instrument, hearing noises like static or wind blowing through wires when there is no source of either sound, and hearing voices that tell the person something bad is going to happen.
Paranoid schizophrenics may believe these sensations are signals from another human being or entity, such as the voice of God or an evil spirit. They may attempt to communicate with this "other" by asking questions or telling them to go away.
People who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia may fear they are being watched or overheard and will sometimes change the subject of a conversation or leave a room to prevent others from discovering their secret thoughts. They may also have delusions that someone is trying to harm them or invade their privacy. For example, a patient may believe police officers are following him/her around or listening in on his/her conversations.
8 Schizophrenia Patients Share Their Most Terrifying Hallucinations
In fact, it is believed that 70 to 80 percent of persons suffering from schizophrenia hear voices. 1. These voices can shout your name, dispute with you, threaten you, originate from inside your brain or from outside sources, start suddenly and get louder over time, and can come from anywhere. 2. The voices are usually negative and critical.
3. There are different types of voices heard by people with this disorder: commands, comments, questions, and insults. 4. Commands are orders given to you by the voice that you must obey. 5. Comments are remarks made by the voice about something unrelated to you or something that other people have said. 6. Questions seek information from you about yourself or others. 7. Insults are statements made by the voice to you; for example, "You're stupid," "Get out of here," "I'm going to kill you."
8. The voices often talk about things that happen before you wake up in the morning or at night when you go to sleep. They may tell you that you are being watched or followed, or ask you strange questions. 9. Sometimes the voices make themselves known by saying words or phrases that only they know. For example, one patient was told by her voice not to eat yellow foods. She did so for several years until she read about yellow fever in a newspaper. At that point, the voice stopped speaking to her.
These are simple symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions, odd bodily movements, and irrational ideas. "These are as real to the individual with schizophrenia as if someone came in and started chatting to you," Weinstein explains. > span>Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population. It is more common in men than women (about 9:1). Children can also be affected - about 5% of cases begin before the age of 14. Schizophrenia does not go away completely, but rather becomes less severe over time.
The severity of each person's experience with schizophrenia varies greatly. Some people with the disease may have mild symptoms that do not affect their ability to function normally. Others may suffer from disabling mental problems that prevent them from working or caring for themselves. The diagnosis of schizophrenia does not depend on how a person feels, but rather on how they act and think. A doctor will use several tools at their disposal to make this determination including history taking, physical examinations, lab tests, and brain imaging.
Treatment for schizophrenia includes both drugs and psychotherapy. Medications can reduce psychotic episodes and allow people with schizophrenia to lead more normal lives. Psychotherapy helps people with the disease learn new ways of thinking and behaving that allow them to deal with the challenges of schizophrenia better. In some cases, doctors may recommend hospitalization because of the risk of self-harm or other issues related to schizophrenia.