Is Hearing Voices Ever Normal?

is it ever normal to hear voices yes and that's what I'm talking about today I'm dr. Tracy marks a psychiatrist and I make mental health education videos in general when we hear that someone is hearing voices the knee-jerk response to believe that that person is experiencing a psychotic episode psychosis is a break from reality and not knowing what's real and what's not real usually hearing voices also called auditory hallucinations doesn't happen in a vacuum they can be a part of a depressive episode or a manic episode or you can see them with the psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder another scenario where you can hear voices is when you have certain medical problems like being in a temporary state of intoxication from drugs or alcohol or being delirious or having migraines or seizures but there are people who have no medical problems whatsoever and still hear voices and when I say hearing voices I'm talking about hearing a voice or multiple voices as if someone were speaking it but no one's around it can seem like it comes from outside of your head like someone's in the room with you or it can sound like it's coming from inside your head voices inside your head are more than hearing your own voice as you're thinking or sometimes you can be thinking about what someone said and you can imagine the person talking and kind of hear them speak this is not what I mean by hearing voices in your head that's more of a daydream imagination kind of thing the voices in your head are some alert to an experience of hearing a discreet sound it just sounds like it originated from inside of your head instead of inside of the room so that's what I mean by hearing voices just so we're on the same page with that there's a lot of research on this topic of non-pathological voices or non-clinical voices and I'll put some references in the description for you some of these studies used functional MRI to look at brains of people who reported hearing voices the functional MRI shows brain activation in certain parts of the brain when the person is hearing the voices it's estimated that 1 to 3 percent of with no psychiatric disorder hear voices and in one study from 2017 they analyzed several studies and saw differences in the voices between the clinical and the non clinical group and the clinical group where were people who had some kind of illness that produces hallucinations and what they saw was that the voices in the clinical group tended to be more negative more frequent and cause more distress people with clinical or pathological voices tended to feel more controlled by their voices either because of hearing commands to do things or just feeling like they couldn't get a handle on them or stopped hearing them non clinical voices tended to be more positive and reassuring in examples that this would be hearing a voice of a deceased relative some people tell me that they like being able to hear their mother's voice or their husband's voice talking to them people with a spiritual background can hear voices of spiritual entities and here's another scenario have you ever been peacefully drifting off to sleep when you're jolted awake because you hear someone calling your name this is another form of hallucinations called hypnagogic if it happens when you're falling asleep or hypnopompic if it happens when you're waking up from sleep these kinds of hallucinations can be the sign of a sleep disorder especially if it happens a lot or it can be a normal experience that just happens randomly and while I'm talking about this I just want to include that this experience is not to be confused with that thing that happens when you feel like you can't wake up because you can't move that's sleep paralysis and just like what's sleep hallucination sleep paralysis can also happen when you're falling asleep or waking up there's a problem with the transition between your rapid eye movement sleep and your non REM sleep and it's normal for your body to be paralyzed during REM sleep so that you don't act out your dreams when you're in a state of sleep paralysis you can hallucinate you can also sense that there's a presence in the room and some people can even feel like there's something pressing on their chest it's very scary but it's not a sign of something dangerous it can be the result of a sleep disorder or it can happen under stress or from a disrupted body clock and your body clock can get out of whack when you have wide swings in your sleep schedule like shift workers but I digress one more difference between non clinical voices and clinical ones is that the non clinical voices tend to star in late childhood earlier than the voices that come along with a psychiatric disorder some studies have seen a high prevalence of people with childhood abuse experience this and in this case the association doesn't mean it causes voices we can't draw that conclusion but it may mean that children who have experienced early trauma especially repetitive trauma may be more vulnerable to hearing voices and having the voices be a soothing mechanism of some kind if you have this experience of hearing voices it doesn't mean you need to see a psychiatrist unless it causes distress for you and the things that people hear that cause distress or commands to do things like harm yourself or others hearing lots of negative commentary about yourself if you want support on this issue there are some self-help support groups such as the hearing voices Network and this is the site that's based in London and it has a lot of useful information on it you should see a psychiatrist if you hear voices and have other problems like feeling depressed or having trouble with your thinking or communication these are signs that the voices may be connected to an illness and if you want to know how this differs from schizophrenia watch this video that I have explaining schizophrenia it's a lot more than hallucinations subscribe to my channel if you want to keep up with mental health information see you next time

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