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Hearing Voices, Uncertain And Scared

Question:

I’m 19 years and im a guy. Im scared i might have pshchitzophrenia (schizophrenia) -excuse spelling. I think i hear voices or sounds in my mind. i don’t hear them with my ears but inside my mind. I was a heavy pot smoker from 14 to 18. i even huffed gasoline once. I sometimes get paranoid about people like they’ll put something in my drink. I have always been nervous in public, like i have social phobia. Especially when i have to walk in a crowd who is sitting down and quite. I try and avoid it actually. I can tell what weird or not but the voices i think or hear are scary. I think i think them and hear them in my mind. What could this be. I am fearing psychosis or being pyschophrinic (schizophrenic). Could this really be and over active imagination? Oh, and my ears are clogged with water and they can make hearing kinda hard.

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Answer:

You really should make an appointment with a psychiatrist as soon as possible so that you can be properly evaluated and whatever condition you might have be treated. It’s natural enough that you’d be frightened by the prospect of having a potentially disabling disorder like schizophrenia, but just because you are afraid is not a good reason to avoid finding out if your fears are true or not. In a case like this, you are better off knowing what is wrong than not knowing, because if you know what is wrong, you have a chance at treatments which can help your condition. If you avoid knowing, you just remain afraid, and things possibly get worse over time.

People who have schizophrenia do not develop the condition all at once. Instead, they pass through stages of the illness that tend to wax and wane over time. There is typically a "first break" or first occurrence of full-on psychosis, a period before that first full psychosis during which some symptoms are present, and a period of waxing and waning psychosis and lucidity that occurs after the first break. It is important to identify and medicate schizophrenia at the earliest possible time, preferably before a first full break occurs. The only primary treatments capable of really lessening symptoms tend to be medical in nature, involving anti-psychotic medications. If the symptoms are medicated prior to a first break, it may be possible to avoid that first break occurring in the first place. This is a desirable outcome as my understanding is that patients’ overall ability to function is better preserved when this is the case. Though earlier is better, medication treatment will help reduce the severity of many schizophrenia symptoms no matter when the condition is identified.

I’m pushing you to get yourself evaluated by a psychiatrist for several reasons. First, seems unlikely to me that the voices you describe in your mind are simply a product of an overactive imagination. Auditory hallucinations of this variety simply are not common outside of psychotic disorders. Second, a psychiatrist, rather than a psychologist, or general medical doctor, or social worker or any other sort of therapist is the proper sort of mental health professional to diagnose schizophrenia. Psychiatrists will generally have the most experience working with schizophrenic patients, and they are the only doctors who are really qualified to prescribe medications to properly treat the disorder. As a medical doctor, a psychiatrist is also in a position to look at your physical complaints (such as water in the ears) and judge whether these symptoms may be contributing to the problem.

You have little to lose by being evaluated by a psychiatrist. If it turns out you do have schizophrenia or a related condition, the doctor will be able to prescribe you medicine which can lessen symptoms like voices and paranoia. If you don’t have schizophrenia, but instead have some other condition, you’ll have the chance to learn what that condition is and how it can be treated. If this is all just an overactive imagination, you’ll find that out too. Please don’t wait or let your fear stop you from making this important doctor’s appointment so that you can find out what is happening to you and be in a position to receive a treatment that will help minimize your symptoms.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    Hello,This is to the orginal poster:

    I was a heavy pot smoker, drinker due to having alot of high stressfull events happen to me when i was a child and teen then i started to hear voices in my head then they went away without any meds but they did help but not totally this what i did to cope with it

    1. when i was hearing voices, they where trash talking to me and saying they want to do harmfull things to me. I usually ended up having day long one way convertation to them ( i figured out what the voices sounded like my old friends). So i ended up testing it saying meet me here at this time when the converation turns into a two-way but it was highly unlikely they usually shut up or agree but never did it. From my results i realized it was all in my head.

    2 . now how to make them go way: meds do help them toned down. also while on meds tell them go way or shut up etc.. untill you are ready to get off. If you started to hear them again just remember its all in your head and one day they will go way for good.

    i hope this helps it was kinda hard to say without being in person.

  • Anonymous-2

    lately i've had this uncontrollable feeling of guilt i feel watched 24/7 adn i've been hearing things like voices adn seeing things like shadow people im so scared, adn my dad doesn't bealive me i don't know what too do im 16 i smoke pot too try too help but they are still here ??? what should i do?doc

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: I cannot tell you if you are developing Schizophrenia or something similar (e.g., a psychotic disorder). That determination can only be made by a mental health doctor who you see locally and who can interview you at length and in person. However, I can offer an observation and two pieces of advice. My comment is that what you describe is not a common experience that the average person ever has. Hearing voices and seeing shadow people are indeed symptoms consistant with Schizophrenia or something similar. Likewise, the fear and guilt you report may possibly be a part of a developing paranoid process - a condition in which you believe you are being persecuted or hunted or taunted by various entities, often entities that other people cannot perceive. Advice 1 is that you should stop smoking pot as soon as you can as this will not help you but rather (in my experience) tend to make things worse for you if this is a Schizophrenia-like process that is occurring. Advice 2 is that you get yourself to see a Psychiatrist as soon as you can (or see your regular doctor if you cannot manage to see a Psychiatrist directly - your regular doctor will be able to make a referral appointment for you. A Psychiatrist is the type of doctor who will best be able to diagnose you and tell you whether this is nothing to worry about, whether it is due to your drug use, or whether this is something like Schizophrenia. A Psychiatrist will also be in the best position to offer you medication therapy which can reduce symptoms of paranoia and hallucination.

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