Non psychotic voice hearing.

A

Akardy

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#1
So I've recently had a visit from the early intervention psychosis team. The result of their
assessment is that I'm not suffering from psychosis, but rather my voice hearing is a result of my chronic illness (fibromyalgia) and existing anxiety problems.

As a result they're passing me back to the primary mental health team, and I have to wait over a month to have yet another assessment. The result of which will likely be another round of CBT and nothing more. So I'm feeling pretty despondent at the moment, maybe it was naive of me but I was hoping they'd give me anti psychotic meds and this would go away...or at least I'd stop being so stressed about it. I understand CBT very well, I've been trying to apply it to my voice hearing since it started to no avail. So now basically I'm feeling like I'm just not going to get any significant help whatsoever.

Has anyone been in a similar situation at all? Or can anyone explain to me what the hell "non psychotic voice hearing" even is? I kinda though experiencing daily hallucinations was almost the definition of psychosis. Even if you know they aren't real.
 
Poopy Doll

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#2
Hi Akardy. I am not psychotic but I hear telephones ringing and dogs barking that aren't there. My bf tells me they aren't real.

I would never take pills for this. Never.
 
Kerome

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#3
Well, voice hearing comes in a wide spectrum of experiences. Some people just hear phrases that their parents used to say years ago, while others have whole conversations and a cast of interactive characters. For some people it’s not disturbing, while for others it is a source of great anxiety.

You can take medication for it, even a normal gp can prescribe an antipsychotic like risperidone, but you should be aware that you may be taking it for a long time - many years - and it will have side effects that you may not like, such as weight gain.

My situation when I was first assessed was probably somewhat similar, in that I wasn’t exhibiting many other signs of psychosis besides voice hearing. In the end I was diagnosed psychosis (not otherwise described) so it may be they were more worried about me than they are about you!
 
burt tomato

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#4
For me the litmus test is how distressing the voices makes you feel. Are you able to shrug it off and continue as normal, or does it disable you to a greater extent.

The doc's solution is to prescribe anti-psychotic meds, but if you feel you do not need them, well don't take them. They are notorious for having nasty side effects.
 
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Akardy

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#5
Well, what I hear isn't pleasant anyway. There's two voices, one constantly critical and the other more complimentary, but it's like two people watching everything I do and talking about it me....it's certainly not the nice experience some voice hearers describe.

I assume I wasn't considered to be suffering from psychosis because I was able to calmly chat about it, say I didn't think it was real and am obviously not suffering from any general sort of delusions. But it's still pretty deeply unpleasant. Though the worst of it is always if I get sucked into thinking it might be real, that it's really my neighbours harassing me...at one point I actually phoned the police! Oops.

I've seen my gp and asked about anti psychotics but they wanted to leave it to my mental health team...who aren't seeing me for another month and from the sounds of it, I phoned them earlier, they favour therapy. Partly I think because I'm already on a lot of medication for my physical health, plus an anti depressant.

I'm still functional I'd say, I can go out and do stuff and not hear anything...but it's hard to concentrate at home, playing games is fine, watching stuff with the volume turned up high is ok, but reading is out, and studying at home won't work with it. And just generally the stress isn't doing my any favours, being physically ill and in pain is crap enough without hearing a voice calling you stupid and criticizing everything you do.

So it looks like I've got two options both of them crap! Ahh well, thank you all for your replies.
 
burt tomato

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#6
I would advise to wait and see what the mental health team offer. Perhaps therapy of some sort might be a good thing.

Like you say, it's best to avoid further meds if possible.
 
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Akardy

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Funny thing is I'm already taking more meds because of this.....I've had to stop smoking weed to help with the fibro pain, which means more opioids and gabapentin, a drug originally made to treat epilepsy that works for nerve pain.
 
Kerome

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#8
If you’re hearing them continuously and are sometimes getting confused as to reality then that’s something it might be good to mention to your mental health team. And I have to say it is outrageous they are making you wait a month! It certainly sounds like your situation merits concern, even if it isn’t critical.

There is an app you can use to reduce and quieten voices (I know it sounds crazy, but it does work, it’s based on neurological principles) unfortunately it can take half an hour of concentrated tapping to work for ten minutes. It’s called TemStem if you want to try it.
 
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Akardy

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#9
Yeah, mental health services in the UK leave a lot to be desired. I do at least have access to treatment despite not being able to work at present but so I shouldn't complain too much...but still!

I phoned the mental health team yesterday to say I didn't think I was coping much at all. They didn't really help, couldn't move my appointment forward or offer any advice beyond doing what I had been. So today I went back to my GP as I'd barely slept all night, she was very sympathetic and gave me something to help me sleep and phoned the mental health team on my behalf.

I then got a phone call from the mental health nurse which basically amounted to telling me off for getting my GP involved and reiterating they weren't going to do anything else. Ugh, these people are just interested in ticking boxes to say they did their job.
 
maxiefried

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Everyone has a different relationship to their voices, and everyone's voices are different. I'm really not convinced psychotic vs non-psychotic voice hearing is a meaningful distinction, it seems really arbitrary to call some voice hearing psychotic and some voice hearing non-psychotic to me.

Some people may attribute their voices to coming from them or might instead think they're voices of ghosts or angels. Some people's voices might be very distracting, or just easy background noise. Some people's voices might be very distressing, or a nice addition to the tapestry of their life. Our voices might be different things (distressing or not, loud or not, etc) at different times.

I'm sorry you've been dismissed like this, you deserve far more support than what you're getting and I'm sorry that hasn't been offered. It's a unique experience being put down all the time even when you're just on your own, and it can be especially confusing and frightening when it's only just started happening. Would you like any resources on voice hearing?
 
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Akardy

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#11
Thanks Max.

I've really got the feeling that what they were saying is that I'm no psychotic enough to belong to their mental health team so they wanted to pass me over to another team. Bureaucratic box ticking more than anything else.

I was watching a ted talk by Oliver Sacks on other non psychotic voice hallucinations....a type visually impaired people have where they just see really random things that don't interact with them at all. He seemed to be saying that difference with psychotic and no psychotic hallucinations is that psychotic ones are interactive and clearly come from the sufferers subconscious, reflect fears and other emotions. I'm certainly in that camp!

I feel like I've gotten a better handle on it these last few days though....I've stayed totally convinced it's not real, and as such my anxiety has gone down quite a bit. Plus I found a new method for distraction that works better than all the others; put music on and read a very compelling, page turner, sort of book. Hours fly by without me hearing them.

For a long while the fact I can drown them out with music made me think they were real. But I guess that's just how auditory hallucinations work, they mimic other sounds and so can be drowned by loader sounds. So it'd be like saying my visual hallucinations must be real cause I can't see them when I close my eyes!

So yeah, I can see a point...hopefully in the not too distant future...where my voices either aren't there any more or I'm completely past them bothering me.
 
Kerome

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#12
I then got a phone call from the mental health nurse which basically amounted to telling me off for getting my GP involved and reiterating they weren't going to do anything else. Ugh, these people are just interested in ticking boxes to say they did their job.
That’s about the size of it. I found them largely unhelpful, I think in two years I had one visit from the CMHT nurses and one appointment with a psychiatrist. What was helpful was when my GP referred me to the psychotherapy service for help in working through the experiences, which led to doing some group therapy. That was actually more useful than anything I got from CMHT or the crisis team.

They are more sensitive when you get GPs involved or lodge an official complaint, but for something like this it’s hard to know where that would sit. Ultimately maybe they don’t do anything because they don’t know what to do.
 
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