|"It's a very unpleasant experience...Really depressing...It's creepy; I want it to stop."|
"The most common type of auditory hallucinations in psychiatric illness consists of voices. Voices may be male or female, and with intonations and accents that typically differ from those of the patient. Persons who have auditory hallucinations usually hear more than one voice, and these are sometimes recognized as belonging to someone who is familiar (such as a neighbor, family member, or TV personality) or to an imaginary character (God, the devil, an angel). Verbal hallucinations may comprise full sentences, but single words are more often reported.
Voices that comment on or discuss the individual’s behavior and that refer to the patient in the third person were thought by Schneider13 to be first-rank symptoms and of diagnostic significance for schizophrenia. Studies show that approximately half of patients with schizophrenia experience these symptoms.14
A significant proportion of patients also experience nonverbal hallucinations, such as music, tapping, or animal sounds, although these experiences are frequently overlooked in auditory hallucinations research. Another type of hallucination includes the experience of functional hallucinations, in which the person experiences auditory hallucinations simultaneously through another real noise (eg, a person may perceive auditory hallucinations only when he hears a car engine).
The content of voices varies between individuals. Often the voices have a negative and malicious content. They might speak to the patient in a derogatory or insulting manner or give commands to perform an unacceptable behavior. The experience of negative voices causes considerable distress.12 However, a significant proportion of voices are pleasant and positive, and some individuals report feelings of loss when the treatment causes the voices to disappear.15 "