Luke Watkin was in year eight at school and alone in a corridor when he first heard a strange noise.
“I heard what sounded like a train brake, followed by a metal on metal noise.
“It was just something completely out of the ordinary. It was a bit of a shock to the system, something I just couldn’t understand or really process.
“My experience at the time was quite terrifying.”
It was his first experience of the mental health condition, psychosis. Luke was 12 years old.
He said it went on from noises to hearing words, hearing his name, to eventually hearing whole sentences “of it almost trying to talk to me”.
The main symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions and it can be caused by a specific mental health condition, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. more
Zoe Corcoran was so desperate to feed her habit, she stole thousands from her parents – and even believed the TV was talking to her
AGED 15, Zoe Corcoran sniffed her first line of cocaine.
It was the start of a terrifying addiction which saw her spending up to £400-a-day on the class A drug and hallucinating that people in the television were talking to her.
At one point she downed mouthful after mouthful of pills and hacked at her hand, but thankfully survived.
Now Zoe, clean and happy, is telling her shocking story: more
New Delhi: Shocking developments have emerged in the death of a 65-year-old security guard who was murdered by a civil services aspirant on Wednesday. About two weeks ago, 25-year-old Benzi Singh woke up in the wee hours of the morning and mentioned that he had been hearing ‘voices’ asking him to ‘rape women and kill people’, saying his roommates.
One of Singh’s roommates, upon the condition of anonymity, told The Hindustan Times that Benzi came to him the night of the incident around 3.30 am. A shivering Benzi told me that someone had been talking to him which scared him so much that he slept next to me that night, said Singh’s roommate. The boy further added that Benzi’s friends took him to a psychiatrist the other day and that they could never have imagined that would kill someone. more
Many depressed people hide their psychosis from doctors
Many people think psychosis only strikes people with schizophrenia. In fact, about one in five people with severe depression also experience breaks with reality. You might hear a voice berating or taunting you, or believe you committed a crime that never occurred.
To diagnose major depression, a psychiatrist looks for at least five of these symptoms over two weeks or more: agitation or slow motor function, changes in appetite or weight, low mood, trouble concentrating, guilt, sleeping too little or too much, losing interest or pleasure in most activities, low energy, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you also have delusions or hallucinations, you will be diagnosed as having “depression with psychotic features.” more
Have you found yourself typing “Am I crazy?” into Google or asking Siri? You probably got back a patchwork of results, from online “sanity tests” to mental health forums.
Fortunately, most people who do such searches aren’t actually going “crazy,” as in developing delusions, paranoia, or hallucinations, says Gerald Goodman, PhD, an emeritus professor of psychology at UCLA.
“Believing that you are going crazy is a good clue that you are sane,” he says.
When someone is developing a serious mental illness with psychosis, such as schizophrenia, they usually don’t know it. “Part of ‘crazy’ is getting away from reality,” Goodman says. more
Katie, who has bipolar disorder, describes her experience of hearing voices when she is manic or depressed.
Not everyone realises that some sufferers of Bipolar disorder also have psychotic symptoms. These could include delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations. For me, I hear voices. This happens during periods of extreme moods, so when I’m manic or severely depressed.
During mania, the voices can be comforting. I have many ideas racing through my head during a manic phase, and the voices I hear add to the jumble. They give me ideas and fill me with confidence that then elevates my mood further. I often speak out loud to them and they reply very audibly, as if they were in the room with me. I remember instances when I’d been in my bedroom alone and I would run downstairs extremely excited, like I had just spoken to a friend on the telephone who I hadn’t seen for a while. I’ve had conversations with people where I’ve become distracted or ‘zoned out’ because there is a voice speaking to me. Sometimes I might make a joke that no one understands but me and the voices, or laughed out loud for seemingly no reason. The voices have become my friends and I think I would miss them if they were gone. If my mood becomes very elevated I know they will be there and I look forward to hearing them. more
The secret to both might lie in how our brains experience the world
Serial killer David Berkowitz, also known as the “Son of Sam,” famously claimed that he heard voices in the form of a dog telling him to commit murder. But hearing voices isn’t necessarily a sign of psychosis. In fact, according to the authors of a recent study published in the journal Brain, enhanced attention-related nerual pathways might cause these illusory sounds. People hear them because their brains may be especially primed to pick up speech.
“It’s true that lots of people who hear voices have serious mental health issues,” Ben Alderson-Day, a psychological research at Durham University and lead author on the study told Popular Science. “But roughly 5 to 15 percent of the general population will have some experience of hearing unusual voices at some point in their lives. We think potentially up to one percent might have pretty frequent experiences and just don’t really tell anyone and get on with their everyday lives.” more
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
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