Treatment for Hearing Voices in Your Head: Finding Relief from Auditory Hallucinations
Auditory hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis can be extremely disorienting and distressing. The available treatment options for psychotic episodes are very effective, but it’s critical for someone to receive an accurate diagnosis because the cause of psychosis can vary widely. Only then can clinicians determine the best combination of treatment for hearing voices in your head.
When John used to hear voices, the fear and confusion left him unable to be an active part of his own life. His family remembers that he was always on edge, and he had to leave his job in customer service. As much as the voices upset him, he was also upset by the idea that he was going crazy.
Once he starting talking to a psychiatrist he felt really comfortable with, a lot of his fears started to relax. He had been feeling so isolated and hopeless that he would ever be free of his hallucinations. The doctor reassured him that there are a lot of very effective treatment options for hearing voices in your head and other symptoms of psychosis. John had also been feeling intense shame over losing control of his mind. But his doctor helped to normalize the mind’s coping mechanisms, especially when dealing with great stress or trauma.
Our minds do the best they can. But sometimes they need some extra help. When someone is hearing voices that aren’t there in reality, that expert help is what can turn their life around again.
For Auditory Hallucinations, an Accurate Diagnosis Is Essential
If someone you care about is hearing voices, does that mean they have a severe mental illness? They may or they may not. Auditory hallucinations can be related to a variety of physical and mental illnesses. Only a professional clinician can make a careful and accurate diagnosis. But regardless of what is provoking their psychosis, it’s important that they get compassionate professional attention because these symptoms can be very disorienting and distressing.
What Can Cause Auditory Hallucinations?
Along with delusions, paranoia, and disordered thinking, auditory hallucinations are a symptom of psychosis. When someone has a psychotic episode, they are losing touch with reality in some way. There are many different types of psychosis caused by both psychiatric and physical illnesses:
- Brief psychotic disorder lasts less than a month and can be triggered by various experiences, including trauma and loss.
- Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that can significantly disrupt a person’s life and connection with reality.
- Schizophreniform disorder is similar to schizophrenia, but the symptoms last only between one and six months.
- Schizoaffective disorder involves psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia combined with mood symptoms of depression or mania. Sometimes psychosis and mood symptoms are present simultaneously and sometimes independently.
- Delusional disorder involves the psychotic symptom of false beliefs without the presence of hallucinations or other significant behavioral impairment.
- Mood disorders with psychotic features can occur when a person’s depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder is especially severe.
- Drug-induced psychosis can occur with the use of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other substances. Psychotic symptoms may go away when the person stops using, or the psychosis may continue.
- Organic psychosis can also occur in relation to certain serious injuries and physical illnesses, such as infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, brain injuries, and sleep disorders, as well as many others.
How Can Someone Get a Professional Diagnosis?
Different causes of psychosis require different treatment approaches, but in all cases, it’s important that someone who has had a psychotic episode gets treatment as soon as possible. So, it’s time for an urgent and accurate diagnosis by an expert clinician. Ultimately, a caring professional can help to determine the root cause of your loved one’s psychotic symptoms as well as any other co-occurring disorder or disorders that might also be interacting and disrupting their quality of life.
Reach out to a comprehensive long-term treatment center where you can be assured of in-depth mental health knowledge and the availability of diverse treatment approaches.
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The Best Treatment for Hearing Voices in Your Head
Psychosis is not a condition that should just be left to improve with time. If someone you know is hearing voices, it’s very important that they receive an accurate diagnosis right away so they can begin with an appropriate course of treatment. Typically, for psychotic symptoms, people respond best to a combination of medication and therapy.
Antipsychotic medications can be very effective at minimizing psychotic symptoms. However, which specific medication is best depends on the individual, so it’s important to find the ideal prescription. If there is not a reduction in symptoms with the first drug, clinicians will try another—until the best drug and dosage are determined. This process should happen under close clinical supervision. In fact, it’s ideal for this initiation of treatment to happen in a residential rehab setting. The goal is to find the most effective medication and dosage with the least possible side effects.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
It’s also very important that someone receives psychotherapeutic treatment along with medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most common and effective approaches. With this empowering method, a therapist can help the client to develop greater awareness of their disordered thoughts, to set goals for their life in recovery, and to practice coping strategies for times of stress. A compassionate and knowledgeable therapist can help to destigmatize a client’s experiences of psychosis, to reframe their fears of hearing voices, and to help them regain hope and motivation for the recovery journey.
Other types of therapy can also be effective counterparts to medication and can help to support healthy lifestyle habits and overall quality of life.
Medication and Treatment Adherence
Relapses of hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms are most often due to a person’s failure to take their medications as prescribed. Medication and treatment adherence can be challenging, especially considering the confusion that comes with psychotic episodes. But effective routines can be established in the right treatment environment, especially in a residential setting where positive habits and treatment strategies are integrated and immersive.
Motivational interviewing can help clients to tap into their own sources of strength and hope to fuel their recovery. Simultaneous life and job skills training can help individuals to build confidence and independence. And a comprehensive after-care plan and support system are also critical to ensure long-term treatment adherence and recovery success. With the right psychosis treatment program, all of these supportive therapies are available in the same place.
The bottom line is that treatment is available and effective for that person in your life who is hearing voices and feeling lost. By accessing and sustaining that treatment, recovery is very possible.
BrightQuest is a long-term residential treatment program for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned San Diego-area program and how we can help you or your loved one begin the journey toward recovery.