General Question

johnnydohey's avatar

Auditory Hallucinations; Cause & Treatment / Unclear?

Asked by johnnydohey (265 points ) August 1st, 2010

In the past two weeks I have been hearing sounds and voices in a low volume that sound like it comes from a distance but there is nothing there. Examples of sounds and voices are: alarms, bells, horns, moans, whispers, gasps. My Dr. ordered a full Pet & Mri scan, blood work, however, nothing was found. I never had a history of health issues either. From what I was told by my doctor and reading about it, causes and treatments are highly controversial as nobody really knows for sure. Is this really the case?

Has anyone experienced anything like this?
Does anyone have any other solutions?

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45 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Do these sounds and voices scare you, command you, or attempt to oppress you? Are they just there in an indifferent capacity? Can you even hear what they are saying? Are the noises significant, or do they seem to be random?

You may find this video helpful and/or interesting, although it does not deal with auditory hallucinations.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I occasionally get a high-pitched whistling sound. The doctor seems to think that it’s due to repeated exposure to noise. In my case, nothing can be done about it.

Welcome to Fluther

johnnydohey's avatar

They don’t scare/command/oppress me, the sounds and voices come and go, they are random and without speech, well maybe the whispers are saying something but I can’t make it out because it isn’t loud enough. However, all the sounds and voices are loud enough for me to notice it and annoy me behind belief.

@stranger_in_a_strange_land, I don’t expose myself to high noise too much. I listen to music but not on a high volume, so it wouldn’t apply. Thanks for the welcome.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The way I understand hallucinations, they are essentially brain spasms. Schizophrenic type hallucinations are based around anxiety related regions of the brain, while LSD type hallucinations are more focussed towards the actual visual and auditory regions.

Yours sound like they are quite harmless, which probably means they are originating in either the auditory regions or in the parts where you remember what certain sounds are. Sometimes a person may feel a need to say a particular word, and will try to work it into their conversation. In a similar way, your brain may be feeling a need to hear a particular sound, and synthesises it to keep the neurons expressing the need quiet.

That is all just speculation though. If the symptoms are harmless, and just annoying, and the MRI and PET scans are clear it seems you have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately you may have to just learn to live with it, but at least there is nothing more serious at play.

Welcome to Fluther!!

johnnydohey's avatar

I hear what you saying, but as you said, it’s speculative. Why all of a sudden? Also there are two worries here. One is the progression of this over time, as it has only been two weeks, so who knows how bad it can get down the line, and secondly, this is not something I can get use too because it pounds on my conscience over and over which then effects my daily life.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

At this stage the best I can recommend is for you to do some relaxation exercises. Try to shut down as much of your brain as possible by sitting on the floor in a darkened room and just focussing on your breathing. If the scans came up clear then these issues are probably best dealt with on a psychological level, so you should learn to exercise your mind and see for yourself what helps and what provokes it. Did your doctor ask for functional MRI scans? Do you know if they are available at your local practice/hospital?

johnnydohey's avatar

I’m not sure, I assume he did the full works, at least that’s what he told me. I tried being more active in thoughts and actions, but it’s like when someone is doing construction outside, you can’t really shut it out, you can just dampen the sound, but it will remain in the background. Haven’t tried relaxation, I would assume that will encourage it more since all that remains is those sounds and voices.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Functional MRI is not common. I am a medical imaging student, and I have never seen it done at any of the practices I have been to on clinical placements. So far it is mainly used in research (at least in my country), since there are no government rebates specifying functional vs. anatomical imaging.

I’ll do a bit more poking around and see what I can find out for you, but for now its time to sleep. Good luck.

johnnydohey's avatar

Alright, thanks for trying. I wracked my brain on this during these past two weeks and I just can’t find solid answers.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I occasionally experience the sounds of people whispering or music playing softly. At first, I’d seek out the source…open both front and back doors and stick my head out; check to make sure the clock/radio wasn’t turned on. Nothing. It’s infrequent enough that don’t worry about it.

A couple of questions though…Where are you when it occurs? When does it occur? It might be of assistance to track to see if there are any patterns.

johnnydohey's avatar

Anywhere I go it follows. It doesn’t feel like an outside source, it feels like it’s inside my head but in a distance and on a low volume. I can best tell when I’m going to sleep, it is dark and quite, and all I hear is the sounds and voices until I’m to exhausted too stay awake. I got myself into intensive reading of philosophy to constantly keep the mind busy with thoughts, but as I said before, it’s background noise while I read. I ran outside, stuck my head out the windows, put my ears to the walls but nothing…It isn’t constant, but it is very frequent. It just randomly came in two weeks ago, surprise…

Zyx's avatar

If it’s in your head and modern medicine can’t find it, it might still be treatable with anything. If you’re that frustrated you’ve probably already tried pain, which makes spirits and weed likely candidates. I think before that you might want to try intently listening to music or static, getting a feel of the real sounds. That might help.

johnnydohey's avatar

Well, I suppose spirits and weed are not a bad idea to experiment with but even if it were to work, I can’t be drunk and high for the rest of my life. I also study at university and work part time, so I wouldn’t be able to function properly. There is also a dangerous flip-side to spirits and weed because it can enhance the experience of the sounds and voices, making matters worse then they are. I already experimented with music, same results. Never listened to static though, that’s pretty wild, I guess I can try that too.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe schizophrenia type drugs might help? But, since the voices are not very disturbing, nor affecting your behavior you may want to see if it passes. Are you under a lot of stress? Also, how old are you? If you are a teen I might find it more worrisome.

You say “my doctor.” Do you mean your GP? I would think if you really want some answers you need a Neurologist who closely works with psychiatrists. Neurologists tend to specialize from what I understand.

johnnydohey's avatar

Sorry for not being clear. My general physician referred me to a neurologists and the neurologists ordered the tests. My neurologists said that physically everything is alright. Schizophrenia is shown through physical abnormalities, it is confirmed via Pet/Mri scans. This isn’t the case by me, so pills wouldn’t apply. Also, from what I was told by my general physician, neurologist and from what I read, all these pills are controversial. If there aren’t any physical abnormalities, then psychiatrists begin to experiment on the person with pills that attempt to change dopamine metabolisms, or change the moods/emotions of the person, which has been shown to cause more harm then good, in cases that do the complete opposite effect, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy or shock therapy. A lot of criticism for these methods as it’s speculative treatment and they don’t know what’s really causing it. No stress, I’m 19, normal life, university/work/social..

JLeslie's avatar

@johnnydohey Interesting. I was not diagnosing you schizophrenic, just though maybe the drugs might be affetive for you, but I can understand not wanting to try them. I definetly think shock therap is unwarranted, although they have fantastic results for depression with it. Teens is when schizophrenia usually begins to show itself.

I sometimes go through a couple of days or weeks experiencing at times hearing a very static scratch noise. Like if someone his a loud microphone and hit it by accident, it last a moment or two, and then I can go for years without hearing it. It does not cause me to turn my head, it is not in the distance, rather in my head. It started in my in my 30’s, and I think it is more likely related to hearing loss or damage maybe? I have a slight loss in my left ear. What is interesting is my grandfather was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic (he was also slightly hard of hearing), and one of his brothers was diagnoses Schizophrenic, and he had a sister institutionalized almost her entire adult life I do not know her diagnosis. They had horrific childhoods, and very difficult lives in general. I think mental illness is partly genetic, a person is predisposed to certain health conditions, and then the environment pushes you one way or the other. Sometimes I wonder if my brain is set up for it, but my life has been reasonable easy. But, I find it interesting that my grandfather and his siblings had so much mental illness (I did noteven mention another brother committed suicide, but he did lose a child who was murdered at the age of 17) and their children and grandchildren do not have any sort of psychosis. Anyway, this may have nothing to do with your condition, your doctors seem on top of it, but I thought I would share my story with you in case anything stood out.

Did they do a hearing test?

Coloma's avatar

I would follow through with your doctors reccomendatons to start.

If these auditory hallucinatons persist, yes, I would look into the mental heath avenue.

As long as these voices are not telling you that your neighbors dog wants you to go on a killing spree or your mailman is the devil and is poisoning you through toxic junk mail. lol

It is impossible to say what your issues might be, anything from some sort of tinnitus to hanging on the edge of a schizophrenic cliff.

Good luck!

john65pennington's avatar

My mother is 92. for years, she has told me that she hears voices and music coming from her attic. natuarlly, i thought the worst and i investigated. in searching her attic, i had forgotten about the fan my dad had installed there, years ago. the fan is open to the outside and when turned on, generates a flow of outside air into the house. upon further investigation, i discovered that the covering for the fan had fallen off and the outside was exposed. new neighbors had moved in next door and they play music outside their house on their patio. lucklily, i have solved this case. the attic fan, moving because of natural air currents, was bringing in my neighbors outdoor music and into my mothers ears. even though she is 92, she still has a lot on the ball. she heard what she heard and this was proven.

Before you panic, search for the cause and i wish you good luck. john

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington Aw, great story.

john65pennington's avatar

JLeslie, thanks. this had me really concerned about her.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington I think you are naturally an investigative mind, and that you took her seriously and took time to see what might be the real cause of the sounds instead of just dismissing her as paranoid or old is a wonderful thing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Nerves. As a child and young teen then I was used to hearing my mother call out my name when she wasn’t in the house. It used to scare the hell out of me to where I’d stay outside until other people came home or I’d turn on all the lights inside and play music. Soon after leaving home then the voice stopped and most of my nightmares also stopped. Do you have fitfull sleep, do you dream, do you wake up exhausted as if you’d been doped, do you sleepwalk, are you under 20yrs old? Has anyone ever told you stress and nerves will give you asthma, skin rashes, ulcers, cortisone dump, adrenaline surges, etc? Stress is a killer.

johnnydohey's avatar

@JLeslie, at what age was your grandfather and brother diagnosed? Did they have Pet/Mri scans? You said you think it’s partial genetics, wouldn’t your grandfather and his brother parents have it then? I personally didn’t have a horrific childhood, everything was normal until now. That was the first thing that was checked out, is my hearing, all is well, no signs of degradation. That’s when the Dr. sent me for the Pet/Mri and full blood work. Actually the doctor isn’t working on it anymore because there isn’t anything physically wrong with me, and he doesn’t recommend experimental treatments due to the controversies and lack of information. He is baffled as to why it’s happening just now at age 19. What he is basically saying is he just doesn’t know and is possibly limited to the methods of technology available. Told me to cope with it, try to suppress it with various methods of my choosing. I’ve been doing that but it isn’t working. I’m smack in the middle because I’m not showing enough of crazy symptoms but I am showing enough that their is a problem that can’t be so easily dismissed. That’s why I’m here and asking around.

@john65pennington, interesting story, however, I did investigate the first week when it occurred. The first week I ran in and out of the house at least ten times a day to catch the sounds and voices but every-time I thought it came from somewhere, it wasn’t there, the sound was on a constant volume inside and outside. I spoke to my neighbors, one is a old lady who lives alone, she doesn’t blast any music, and the other is a family, but the kids don’t blast any music. I spent time in my basement and attic, I have nothing but furniture and clothing there.

@Neizvestnaya, As I wrote before, anywhere I go it follows. It seems that the sounds and voices are coming directly from my mind but in a dampen low voice in a distance. Even with all the environmental noise (cars, people talking) it still stuck in my mind, It does get even quieter when I’m exposed to more noise but I still sense it there. I have trouble sleeping because of the sounds and voices, so I can only go to sleep when I’m really exhausted and the body just shuts down. I sleep around 7–8 hours and I have an occasional dream but nothing violent or frequent. I also don’t sleep walk or feel doped up when I wake up. I’m 19, don’t have any stress, and I don’t have anything to be nervous about. This is just getting annoying because it started to effect my conscience and I would like to solve it before it get’s worse.

Coloma's avatar

@johnnydohey

I’m sorry, you must be terribly frustrated. I wonder…do you drink alcohol or use other drugs?

Just curious IF you DO imbibe in substances if you notice an increase or a decrease in this condition?

I’d definitely make a psychiatric appt. for a mental health workup asap, maybe it is something that can be helped with some sort of medicaton.

johnnydohey's avatar

@Coloma, that’s what @Zyx recommended, to use spirits and weed to see what effects it has. I personally don’t drink except on occasions, and I never tried weed or have access too it. What I was telling @Zyx was that it can have a flip-side negative effect, it can enhance the systems thus making matters worse. The neurologists works with psychiatrists as @JLeslie pointed out, and due to the nature of my situation, there isn’t enough evidence to use any medication or cognitive exercises. The cognitive behavioral therapy I do myself, it doesn’t work. Shock therapy can sometimes help with depression but not this. The medication attempts to play around with the way the body works, but they don’t see anything that is working insufficiently or contains insufficiency. It would be purely on speculative treatment which is why he advised against it. I don’t want to be someones test dummy. The basic psychological exams were done in the neurological clinic. It didn’t explain or show anything.

Coloma's avatar

@johnnydohey

Oh, my mistake, I missed @Zyx ‘s post.

Well..it is a mystery isn’t it then?

I was going to say that if you did notice a decrease after a few drinks or whatever that maybe it was more anxiety induced. I sure hope you can find some answers and help, it must be very diffecult to cope with this situaton.

I require total silence for concentration or sleep, I wouldn’t know what to do if I were to experience your condition. :-(

johnnydohey's avatar

@Coloma, exactly, a mystery. I guess I will try getting drunk one night, see what happens, I assume it would make it go away as sleep does, but I can’t be drunk 24/7. Right, I’m use to silence as well, so this is just a rude awakening, it tires you out. Maybe it will go away the same way it randomly came in. Hopefully not progress.

JLeslie's avatar

Be warned many people begin to “self” medicate, and then they have two problems. I agree it is an interesting experiment to see if alcohol surpresses it, worth trying, and it seems you are not inclined to use drinking as a permanent remedy, which is good, but I offer to you that if you become tempted to use alcohol to quiet your head, if it begins to get worse, then you might want to consider psych/neurological meds if a doctor thinks it is worth trying. Even if it is not a psychiatric diagnosis certain neuro meds might calm the nerves that are firing.

I would also recommend some patience for your body to heal itself. Maybe there was some event that triggered all of this, something you are unaware of, and over time you will recover.

If you have not looked up info on schizophrenia yet here is the wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia (I did not read it all the way through).

Very possible you don’t have schizophrenia and you don’t have hearing problems and the docs don’t know what the hell is going on. This is something that sucks, medicine still has a lot to discover.

Someone above mentioned disturbed sleep. That is a good point, does it happen when you are at rest? Maybe you don’t really put together it is a dream, many people don’t realize they have nodded off while resting.

I don’t know exactly when my grandpa was diagnosed. I am pretty sure he was an adult, but he was very poor an immigrant, and would not have had access to much help in his early life. If he were alive today he would be 90 years old, so this is a very long time ago. Plus, our understanding of the brain has come a long way since then, but still is not as good as we would hope. I think he took some meds on and off, and I know he did electric shock, it was different back then, and it probably should not have been administered.

johnnydohey's avatar

@JLeslie, well the whole issue was, is that if they don’t know the cause of the symtoms, what nerves or whatever else is not functioning properly, and then they administer medication, it will just be an experiment on me to see what will happen. It can help or it can ruin whatever was functioning properly to begin with. Therefore, the general physician and neurologist said no, due to the risks involved and my guess to protect themselves incase something goes really bad. That’s about the only thing I can do, is wait and see what happens down the line. I have looked up schizophrenia but from what I read, it shows physical abnormalities in the thalamic and strietal subcortical nuclei, hypothalamus, and paralimbic regions; this is all detected by the pet/mri scans. None was detected by me. I can’t go to sleep untill I have exhausted myself physically and mentally because if I try and go to sleep at a hour of my choosing, all I hear is the sounds and voices which make it impossible to fall asleep, however, when I’m so exhausted, I fall asleep with ease.

JLeslie's avatar

@johnnydohey It sounds awful. I would say if it does not get better in a couple of months get a second opinion. A doctor once said to me, “JLeslie, the problem is, when you are a little sick nothing might look abnormal on tests or be visible to physicians, you have to wait for it to get really bad for it to be detected and diagnosed,” he went on to say, “I know many people who for years had symptoms and just knew things were not normal, or not how they used to be. Many chalk it up to aging (he was a rheumotologist) but eventually as they get sicker they get a clear diagnosis.” Some people get better over time, and it all becomes a non-issue. I have had health problems for years, some of which is a big mystery.

Flavio's avatar

@johnnydohey
I am a psychiatrist and hopefully some of these thoughts will help.
1) you are 19 and have been having symptoms for only 2 weeks. No imaging study will pick up any abnormality in your brain. Long term, chronic schizophrenics do have detectable anatomic differences, but we don’t know if these are due to their schizophrenia. That said, I think your neurologist is exactly right in ordering imaging studies to rule out awful things like cancer. Sometimes brain tumors can present with sensory alterations or hallucinations. Seems like you are in the clear for that….breathe easier.

2) Auditory hallucinations are a symptom of schizophrenia, but having auditory hallucinations does NOT mean you have schizophrenia. There are LOTS of people who have auditory hallucinations but who are not formally diagnosed with a thought disorder. Usually, the content is music or vague, unintelligible whispers. That said, it’s good to set up a relationship with a psychiatrist now in case these symptoms get worse or more bothersome.

3) The peak age of diagnosing schizophrenia in men is early 20s. You are definitely in the window. Keep a sharp eye and develop a relationship with a psychiatrist you trust now.

4) Don’t know where you have been getting your info, but unless you are impaired to the point of needing acute hospitalization, no psychiatrist will force you to do anything. There are lots of treatment options if these hallucinations are really bothering you, but no one will force you to do anything. For example, I have a bunch of patients who have different degrees of hallucinations who don’t want meds. I see them to check in, keep a relationship, and let them know my door is open in case they need to talk to someone about their symptoms. I always lay all their options on the table when they seem me. More on this below.

5) schizophrenia and other thought disorders are not the only cause of auditory hallucinations. People get AH with affective illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, as well. Some people dissociate, that is, undertake a subconscious escape from an impossibly anxiety-provoking situation. This is not mediated through dopaminergic systems as far as we can tell, it’s pure old-fashioned neurosis and the best treatment is some sort of therapy.

6) A few words about the broad categories of treatments. Starting with meds:
#antipsychotics – blocks dopamine receptors, good for treating AH caused by thought disorders such as schizophrenia or symptomatic relief for AH from other causes. May help with sleep as well. Lots of different meds with lots of possible dosages.
#mood stabilizers or antidepressants – lots of classes, lots of meds. Best treatment for affective causes of AH.
The therapies:
#you mentioned CBT. There is good evidence that CBT works for relieving affective issues that may manifest as AH. There is also good evidence for managing schizophrenia with CBT. I don’t know if either is your case. As far as I know, there is not much evidence that CBT relieves sporadic AH. Likely there is no evidence because it just has not been studies. It may or may not work. There really is no harm in trying if you are curious.
#dynamic therapies. purpose is to provide insight into underlying unresolved conflicts. Good for everyone, absolutely harmless. Much less evidence than CBT, but that’s because these modalities are not manualized so there is a lot less money to fund studies. For bright, psychologically-minded, educated folks, this is my recommendation. It’s slow but transformative.
#you mentioned electroconvulsive therapy, ECT. It’s the gold-standard for treatment resistant depression or schizophrenia. You are not a candidate for this modality. Not worth the time to say more about this at this time.

7) drugs, alcohol including cannabis can make any of these symptoms worse. Stay away from these until you figure this out.

Bottomline, it’s worth staying close to your GP and neurologist and developing a relationship with a psychiatrist. You are very early in the process and this is likely nothing serious, but you don’t want to be taken by surprise.

JLeslie's avatar

@Flavio How nice of you to take the time to write such a comprehensive answer :). GA.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you know the history of the house or apt. you live in as far as chemicals or mold/mildew? I read one time where a whole family was having serious health and mental issues, thought their home was haunted but it turned out to be mold.

Afos22's avatar

Next time you hear the noises, put your fingers in your ears. See if they go away. If they do, it’s likely that it is coming from somewhere besides your own head.

johnnydohey's avatar

Thanks @Flavio, that was very informative. So, from what I understood of what you wrote, cbt/ect/drugs/alcohol do not apply to me. So I’m left with dynamic therapies and medication. The GP and neurologist were the one’s who did not recommend a psychiatrist. @Flavio, what about the negative side effects to these anti-psychotic/mood stabilizers/antidepressants? If all shows up clear on the pet/mri results, then how can one know that I have any of these deficiencies or abnormalities to which medication need to fix? I also never had anxiety issues. Wouldn’t it be a pretty big risk due to uncertainty?

@Neizvestnaya, Well, it is fairly new house and was completely renovated. Also wouldn’t other members of the household experience the same symptoms?

@Afos22, I did that, that’s why I was leaning towards that it sooner comes from my head then outside. If it was outside and I stuck my fingers in my ears then the sound would get quieter but it didn’t.

Flavio's avatar

@johnnydohey
ECT does not apply to you. Stay away from alcohol and drugs for now.
CBT and the dynamic therapies are harmless and either can be helpful for you.

There are side effects to all medications. This is the main reason you need a psychiatrist you like and feel comfortable telling the truth about how you feel. Each of the meds has a different side effect profile, with some overlap. It’s an important conversation for you to have with the person who will prescribe them to you.

I am not entirely clear what you mean about the relationship with the MRI/pet results and the meds. We never use imaging or functional imaging to help us choose a medication. I prescribe meds everyday without looking at imaging. The meds work at a level that is too small to be picked up by any of our imaging or functional imaging modalities. Even though your MRI is pristine, you could still benefit from meds. Also, in the vast, vast majority of cases, medication side effects go away once you stop taking the offending medication. Does this make sense? In psychiatry, we diagnose and treat based on the patient’s reports of symptoms. We mostly do not use other sources of information such as blood tests or imaging, except to rule out things like cancer or thyroid disease that may mimic psych illnesses.

If I had to give you a caricature of the difference between neurology and psychiatry, it is mostly that neurologists focus on discreet lesions in the nervous system. Usually things that can be picked up on imaging, eeg, emg, etc. Psychiatrists focus on diffuse lesions in the nervous system. Things that mildly affect many systems and lead to behavioral or perceptions changes. These diffuse lesions mostly cannot be picked up on the tools we have to look in the brain. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, but this is a good simplistic difference that explains how psychiatrists and neurologists look at the world in a different way.

johnnydohey's avatar

Alright, well that is why I think the GP and neurologists have a problem with the psychiatric, due to the lack of consideration for the physical conditions? Do you know for sure that X is what I have and X will fix it? I assume no, you experiment and see what the results are? Also I don’t want to knock on the psyche community but have you seen this documentary? Care to comment?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-30073771927921128#

This is also a personal reason why I am very skeptical about the field. I don’t understand how can medication be subscribed based on symptoms. If I for example talk to myself, am I psychotic? What if I’m just planning out my day schedule or thinking out-loud.

Flavio's avatar

@johnnydohey
What can I say. I think the stigma against psychiatry comes with the stigma against the mentally ill. There is no conspiracy. There is a lot that we know, and a lot that we don’t know. The link you provided above is one of many, many antipsychiatry movies.

In the end, studying the brain, especially higher order functions of the brain like behaviors, emotions, thoughts, fantasies, jealousies, love, hate, suicidality, homicidality, loneliness, meaning, loss, angst, etc is a lot harder than studying the bladder or the kidney or the liver. The result is that we know a lot less about the mind than the rest of the body or lower-level functions of the brain like movement, sensation, reflexes, balance, sight, etc. This is a big problem because psychiatry does not fit easily within society’s expectation of medicine. There is no test that gives you an answer, no drug that gives you a cure. Patients tell us constellations of symptoms and we match those to studies where we’ve examined hundreds or thousands of similar people with similar symptoms.

Unfortunately, psychiatric illness are syndromes and not categorized by etiology. The reason for this is that we don’t really understand the etiology for a lot of the illnesses. We likely understand depression the best. We can say you have Major Depressive Disoder based on your symptoms, but a diagnosis of MDD doesn’t tell other docs if it’s caused by a serotonin deficiency, by a narcissistic injury, by being rejected by your true love, by learning that your parents are fallible, or by coming to terms with your mortality. Depending on the underlying cause, a different course of treatment is recommended. This is why the lay public gets so confused. Lots of people get diagnosed with MDD but everyone gets a different treatment recommendation.

The creeping commercialism in medicine is another huge problem. Big pharma and the insurance industry have majorly polluted psychiatry. That said, most psych meds are prescribed by GPs. I agree that there is overdiagnosis of bipolar or adhd, but it does not mean that there aren’t people who truly have bipolar or adhd. It’s very important to find professionals who you trust. Personally, I never take contributions or materials from any for-profit company. My prescribing habits are based exclusively on my reading the literature and my clinical/anecdotal experience.

In the end, as a psychiatrist, I know I prevented hundreds more suicides than I missed. I’ve treated dozens of homicidal patients, but none of them have actually killed someone. I’ve helped people cope, find meaning in their travails, deepen relationships, put horrifying experiences in iraq and afghanistan behind them, and I’ve prescribed a lot of meds with the purposed to lighten people’s symptom burden. People come to me when they are suffering and I do my best to help them feel better. I try to use the least invasive methods first and progress to one or more meds if needed. The notion that there is a psychiatric agenda to pathologize the population is very strange to me. My only agenda is developed in conjunction with my patients.

Returning to your situation, of course, you are free to seek help from a psychiatrist or not. From my reading the thread of this conversation it seems you are having symptoms that are distressing to you. As a psychiatrist, I think there are tools we have available to us that may help you. Or perhaps, as is always possible, our tools will not work. The only way for you to know is to seek out a psychiatrist and try it out. My comments above are driven exclusively by my wish to offer advice that will help.

johnnydohey's avatar

I wasn’t questioning your motives, I just have a concern with the “may or may not work” as it can turn haywire and cause more harm to me then good, which is the same concern the gp and neurologist had, so they recommended not to seek out help in the psychiatric fields. I appreciate the help though, it was very informative. I was mainly looking on this forum for alternative methods through natural means, rather then pharmaceutical, that might work. Where do you draw the line with medication? Let say I get on these pills and they are not effective, do you keep prescribing new one’s or it ends?

Flavio's avatar

That depends on what you want. If I prescribe something, we give it a reasonable trial period of 4–6 weeks, and it doesn’t work, I would suggest increasing the dose or switching altogether, depending on side effects. The goal is for you to feel better. sometimes we hit the correct med on the first try, sometimes it takes a few tries and dose adjustments. Sometimes I propose to drop the meds, sometimes I propose a medication holiday to see if the AH persist. Depends on the person, depends on the life circumstances. The treatment is individualized and unique. It ends when you want it to end.

johnnydohey's avatar

Alright, well I’ll pay attention within the next few weeks and see if it get’s worse. I’ll try a second opinion as well to see what they say and if they will want to recommend psychiatry. I appreciate the information, thank you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes, I hear voices all the time, in my head. They tell me it’s nothing to worry about. I wish they’d stop telling me that.

flutherother's avatar

You may be interested in what Oliver Sachs has to say about (mainly visual) hallucinations

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@flutherother Please see my link in the very first post.

lesterpauljohns's avatar

Hello Coloma. My 97yrs Mother has exactly what you talk of.She tried the Gingko derivative called Tebonin but I think it made the problem worse and created visual hallucination. I think the problem is brain related and not ear related. She tried a ¼ of a Quetiapine tablet as it is known that this can help. However, the initial side effects were too confusing and upsetting for my Mother to continue. She needs to take a sleeping tablet at night when the voices and music appear. yesterday I read about rTMS treatment. This is a low-voltage electromagnetic pulse. I intend to ask my Mother’s doctor if this treatment is available in New Zealand. My Mother is almost deaf, so at 97 the aural hallucinations are very confusing and upsetting for me to see.

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