Is This A Sign Of Schizophrenia?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have this voice in my head that’s present wherever I go, whatever I do. It tells me horrible, negative things about myself, for example when I go out to eat I’ll hear it say something like, “Why don’t you just order everything on the menu, fatty?” in the most condescending tone possible. I’ve only told a few friends who have dealt with similar issues. I’m terrified to tell anyone really close to me. I don’t want people to think I’m crazy or anything. Could this just be a product of my depression and self-esteem issues, or is this a sign of schizophrenia? And should I speak to a psychologist about it if I can’t open up to those close to me?

A. To definitively answer your question, I would need more information about the voices such as: how often do they occur? Is it a voice you recognize? Does the voice seem internal or external?

We all seem to have an “inner voice.” Some people have described this inner voice as being intuition or a stream of consciousness. Alternatively, people with psychotic disorders who hear voices, have described them as being external, not recognizable as their own. They may also hear voices of multiple people, not just one person. The voices are often frightening and commanding.

Though I can’t know with certainty, my sense is that the voices you hear are associated with depression and low self-esteem rather than schizophrenia. People with low self-esteem and depression don’t think highly of themselves. They’re constantly putting themselves down. This negative self-talk contributes to their depression and for many, it is difficult to eliminate the negativity from their thought processes.

Therapy could assist you in changing the way you think about yourself. Cognitive therapy exclusively focuses on an individual’s thought processes. Therapy could assist you in retraining yourself to think in a more realistic manner. Psychotherapy is a powerful tool to fight depression and low self-esteem. Consider meeting with a mental health professional. You will be glad you did. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Is This A Sign Of Schizophrenia?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/10/02/is-this-a-sign-of-schizophrenia/

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