Hearing Voices

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I hear voices in my head. It’s been going on for 3 years now. At first i heard a woman calling my name over and over. She sounded very gentle and calm, gradually I began to hear a very aggressive male voice as well. They ask questions like “Are you okay” or “Why did you do that”. It sounds like it’s coming from behind me, but so close like they could be just behind my shoulder. I hear both voices whispering at the same time as well, but I can’t make out what they’re saying, when I try to concentrate on them, they suddenly stop. They try to make conversation with me, but I’ve never replied to them. They’re not familiar voices that I think I have heard before. But I went through sexual child abuse during my childhood from my step-dad, who I am still living with now. I haven’t told anyone about this. Could that be why I hear the voices? I self-harmed because of the abuse and I became very paranoid, but it’s a lot better than it was before. Do you know how I could make the voices stop without visiting a doctor because I don’t want my Mom to know as she worries a lot and I’m afraid of being diagnosed with a disorder, because I feel that my mental health is fine. Thank you.

A. I don’t mean to alarm you but hearing voices is a concern. It is important that you are evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. As you noted, these symptoms have become increasingly more problematic. At first the voices were gentle and calm but they gradually became aggressive and frightening. The fact that your symptoms have progressed is precisely why you need to take action immediately.

Hearing voices is associated with psychotic disorders. I’m not saying you have a psychotic disorder, because it’s impossible for me to verify a psychiatric diagnosis without having interviewed you, but it is a concern. Without treatment, you are at risk of developing a psychotic disorder; thus, it’s imperative to receive help. The doctor will determine what the problem might be and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

It’s possible that your doctor will also prescribe medication. Medication can significantly decrease or eliminate the voices and possibly prevent the development of a psychotic episode. When it comes to the development of a psychotic disorder, prevention and early treatment are profoundly important. Medication might be what is needed to prevent a psychotic episode.

Report these symptoms to your mother even if it means that she will be worried about you. She needs to be aware of your symptoms. Next, ask if she will take you to see a mental health professional. Once you meet with a mental health professional, report your symptoms. The mental health professional will then advise you about your next steps. I hope that you will follow my advice and seek treatment immediately. Hearing voices, especially aggressive and frightening voices, is a symptom that requires immediate intervention. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 May 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Hearing Voices. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/16/hearing-voices-2/