Hearing Voices: PTSD and Auditory Hallucinations

Hallucinations and Combat Veterans with PTSD

Among combat veterans with PTSD30-40% report auditory hallucinations(AH). AH are more frequent in combat veterans with chronic PTSD and it has been suggested that this may reflect a distinct subtype of PTSD that may be under recognized for two reasons: first, patients are reluctant to report AH and, second, more emphasis has, traditionally, been placed on the intrusive images associated with PTSD and less on intrusive auditory hallucinations.

It is important to recognize that such patients do not have the overt changes in affect or bizarre delusions characteristic of other psychoses e.g. schizophrenia.  AH in PTSD appears to be seen more in veterans with higher combat exposure and more intense PTSD symptoms and who report more severe symptoms of hyperarousal. The AH are typically: ego-dystonic; contribute to an increases sense of isolation and shame; associated with feelings of lack of controllability; consist of combat-related themes and guilt; non bizarre; not associated with thought disorders and, overall, more refractory to treatment interventions.  more

4 mental-health disorders you probably don’t know much about — and one that will shock you

The conversation around mental-health disorders has been more vocal in recent years and it’s not a moment too soon. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians will experience a mental-health issue in any given year, and 8 per cent of adults will experience an episode of major depression in their lifetime.

But while depression, suicide and bipolar disorder are well-known terms and their symptoms relatively well-documented, there is a host of other illnesses that go largely unmentioned and misunderstood.

Here are five notable mental-health disorders that you may not know much about, but that can come with real repercussions.  more

Research Is Shedding New Light on Hearing Voices

What are we to think of someone who says that God has spoken to them?  Often the expression “speaks to me” is used figuratively, not literally.  When something really speaks to you, you mean that it is meaningful and emotionally relevant to you.  Mental messages that a person voluntarily generates are simply inner speech, that is, verbal thinking.  Most of our conscious thoughts are verbal.  Although most people can think in non-verbal formats, such as visual imagery, verbal thinking dominates people’s conscious mental processing.

When someone reports hearing a message “in their mind,” usually they don’t mean that they have had a hallucination.  A hallucination is a sensory experience in the absence of an external stimulus to cause the sensory input.  Often, hallucinations are auditory, but hallucinations can also be experienced in the visual or other sense modalities.   Auditory hallucinations are perceived as having the same qualities of sounds generated by external stimuli, and the person is often convinced of the objective reality of the experience.  more

What’s it like to go through a psychotic break

The Mental Health Awareness Week just finished, and here we share the story of Clara Cervantes, a 22-year old psychology student, who first experienced auditory hallucinations at age 11. She currently still battles with anxiety.

I experienced my first psychotic break — the first time I hallucinated — when I was eleven years old. It was said to be a result of genetics, deep depression and anxiety. Somewhere along the way, the paranoia and the auditory hallucinations crept in, deluding me into believing the most ridiculous of things. It led me to mistrust my family.

I kept hearing about my own murder plot; I honestly believed everyone was out to get me.

Having major depression and anxiety felt as if the world was in a perpetual state of gray. There was no longer any meaning in life. I was hollowed out. Empty. Getting out of the house was more of an achievement than anything. And on the rare moments I did, all I wanted to do was hide away.  more

Hearing voices? Don’t assume that means schizophrenia

For many people hearing voices is synonymous with schizophrenia and severe mental illness. But is this always the case?

We’ve known for a long time that hearing voices, or auditory hallucination, is reported by people with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses as well as by those who have none. Indeed, 5-13% of adults will hear voices at some point during their lives – in circumstances that may be related to spiritual experiences, bereavement, trauma, sensory deprivation or impairment, as well as mental and emotional distress.

Despite this, many people, including health-care professionals, still regard hearing voices as a “first-rank” symptom of schizophrenia and assume that these voices are experienced as negative, commanding, loud, frequent and coming from outside the head.  more

OCD and Hearing Voices

While I think we’ve come a long way in terms of the stigma attached to brain disorders, we still have so far to go. Case in point: How many of us would actually admit to hearing voices? My guess is not too many. What would others think?

The truth, however, is that it is not uncommon for people to have this experience at one time or another. Heard someone call your name, but nobody is around? Maybe you’ve heard the voice of a loved one who has died? There have certainly been a few times in my life where I’ve heard voices that aren’t there and have attributed it to my mind “playing tricks on me” (whatever that actually means).  more

Hearing Voices Network

The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) USA is one of over 20 nationally-based networks around the world joined by shared goals and values, incorporating a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences.  It is part of an international collaboration between professionals, people with lived experience, and their families to develop an alternative approach to coping with emotional distress that is empowering and useful to people, and does not start from the assumption that they have a chronic illness.  more

Research Is Shedding New Light on Hearing Voices

Hearing voices can have little—or life-changing significance.

What are we to think of someone who says that God has spoken to them?  Often the expression “speaks to me” is used figuratively, not literally.  When something really speaks to you, you mean that it is meaningful and emotionally relevant to you.  Mental messages that a person voluntarily generates are simply inner speech, that is, verbal thinking.  Most of our conscious thoughts are verbal.  Although most people can think in non-verbal formats, such as visual imagery, verbal thinking dominates people’s conscious mental processing.

When someone reports hearing a message “in their mind,” usually they don’t mean that they have had a hallucination.  more

Hearing voices: Auditory hallucinations vary across cultures

STANFORD — Voices heard by some schizophrenics are strange, angry and threatening. But others hear voices that are familiar, helpful and comforting.

Varying across cultures, these voices tell us something: What we believe shapes what we hear — and how we feel, according to Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann, whose first-ever cultural comparison found that Bay Area patients experienced more negative voices than patients in India and Ghana.

“The harsh, violent voices so common in the West may not be an inevitable feature of schizophrenia,” Luhrmann said. In modern psychiatry, auditory hallucinations are a sign of severe mental illness. Medication is often used to exorcise the voices.  more

Hearing Voices May Actually Be A Good Thing, Study Suggests

CBS Local — Hearing voices has never been considered a celebrated mental condition. However, a recent study is suggesting that people who hear strange patterns in sounds may just be suffering from a well-tuned brain.

According to researchers at Durham University in England, people experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations (hearing voices) but don’t have any signs of mental illness are actually displaying the ability to decode complex sound waves.

“It suggests that the brains of people who hear voices are particularly tuned to meaning in sounds,” lead author Dr. Ben Alderson-Day said in a news release.  more