Media 2017

2017 (116 items)


December

Why People Hear Voices When Climbing Mount Everest At extreme altitudes, mountaineers often mention experiencing psychosis — that is, a mental disorder where a person becomes out of touch with reality. Symptoms of psychotic episodes include hallucinations and delusions. For instance, when mountaineer and anesthetist Dr. Jeremy Windsor was climbing Mount Everest  in 2008, he underwent a strange experience common in extreme mountaineering. Alone in the Himalayas at an altitude of more than 5.1 miles (8.2 kilometers), Windsor hallucinated a man called Jimmy, who accompanied him all day long, spoke encouraging words to him and then vanished without a trace. Until now, doctors have generally thought such psychotic episodes were symptoms of altitude sickness, alongside severe headaches, dizziness and impaired balance. Altitude sickness results from the shortage of oxygen experienced at high altitudes, and can trigger a potentially lethal buildup of fluid in the lungs or brain. But in the new analysis, Windsor and his colleagues found that “isolated high-altitude psychosis” may be its own medical condition, one distinct from altitude sickness. Source: Live Sciences (USA), 18th December 2017

Young people hearing voices find New Haven support in choice Recently, the CT Hearing Voices Network, a local chapter of a network for an international movement, began a peer support group based in New Haven’s Wilson Branch Library on Mondays at 4:30 p.m. for people between the ages of 12 and 24 who experience voices, visions and unusual sensory perceptions. Although the CTHVN runs multiple support groups across the state, the New Haven group is the only one geared toward youth and young adults. Source: New Haven Register (USA), 17th December 2017

FDA approves ‘trackable’ pill US regulators have approved the first pill that can be digitally tracked through the body. The Abilify MyCite aripiprazole tablets – for treating schizophrenia and manic episodes – have an ingestible sensor embedded inside them that records that the medication has been taken. A patch worn by the patient transmits this information to their smartphone. The information can also be sent to the prescribing doctor, if the patient consents to this.Experts hope it could improve medication compliance, although the company that makes the tablets says this has not been proved for their product. The prescribing notes also stress that Abilify MyCite should not be used to track drug ingestion in “real-time” or during an emergency, because detection may be delayed or may not occur. Source: BBC News (UK), 14th December 2017

Kind voices replace violent ones in new therapy for people with schizophrenia A new avatar-based therapy allows schizophrenia patients to put a face to the auditory hallucinations they hear, and encourages patients to gain dominance over the voices that once controlled them. Although the method, called Audio Visual Assisted Therapy Aid for Refractory auditory hallucinations (AVATAR), may sound strange, it has real benefits. Recent trial results show that as many as 83 percent of patients experience a dramatic reduction in their auditory hallucinations after coming face-to-face with their demons. Source: Newsweek (USA), 14th December 2017

First Foray into Digital Adherence In November, the FDA approved the first “digital medicine system” from Ostuka and Proteus in the form of Abilify MyCite, Otsuka’s antipychostic medication embedded with an ingestible sensor from Proteus that can show if a medication has been digested. The sensor had been “approved” since 2012 by the FDA to be included in the clinical trials, but in the drug’s public debut, interesting opinions emerged. The New York Times’ “First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical Big Brother” is certainly an attention-grabber,Lisa Henderson and the article did bring up legitimate questions, specifically around ethics, compliance, and trust, as well as some interesting views around the patient population.  Source: Pharmacutical Executive, 13th December 2017

‘We all hear voices in our heads,’ but why? Study investigates The brain treats talking inside of our heads as essentially the same thing as talking out loud, according to new research published in the journal eLife, which may help to explain conditions such as schizophrenia. Source: Medical News Today, 12th December 2017

Reexamining Schizophrenia as a Brain Disease For over one hundred and fifty years, psychiatry has promoted the idea that what is called schizophrenia is a progressive, deteriorative disease of the brain, and that science is on the horizon of finally discovering the biochemical nature of this debilitating mental disorder. From the age of Kraepelin through the reign of Freud and now the neuroscience of the new psychiatry, we have been promised that a test for schizophrenia is right around the corner, a few years away, the next big breakthrough in biological psychiatry. But we have been waiting for more than a century. It is time to reevaluate the claim that schizophrenia is an organic brain disease. Source: Mad in America (USA), 8th December 2017

Why One Woman Mysteriously Started Hearing ‘Divine’ Voices A 48-year-old woman in Switzerland stabbed herself several times in the chest, claiming  she heard divine voices that instructed her to commit the act as a religious sacrifice, a recent report of the woman’s case reveals. But doctors suspect that these “heavenly” voices likely had an earthly cause; namely, a slow-growing brain tumor that could’ve caused the woman’s religious delusions, according to the case report, which was published Nov. 14 in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. Source: Life Sciences, 8th December 2017

Reexamining Schizophrenia as a Brain Disease For over one hundred and fifty years, psychiatry has promoted the idea that what is called schizophrenia is a progressive, deteriorative disease of the brain, and that science is on the horizon of finally discovering the biochemical nature of this debilitating mental disorder. From the age of Kraepelin through the reign of Freud and now the neuroscience of the new psychiatry, we have been promised that a test for schizophrenia is right around the corner, a few years away, the next big breakthrough in biological psychiatry. But we have been waiting for more than a century. It is time to reevaluate the claim that schizophrenia is an organic brain disease. Source: Mad in America (USA), 8th December 2017

What’s it like to hear voices in your head? This is Alice’s story told over 10 episodes. Imagine hearing voices in your head. Alice does. She’s a 27-year-old mum who’s had different characters in her mind since she was about 15. They all have names and personalities and they can be hard to ignore. Alice wants to tell you about them so you can understand what it’s like to live with schizophrenia. If you need help with anything in this podcast you can search for the BBC Action Line or the BBC Advice pages for details on where to get support. Source: BBC Radio 1 (UK), 8th December 2017

Did Religions Arise From Our Misunderstanding of Human Consciousness? Humans have been claiming to hear the voice of God for eons, but one psychologist’s controversial theory disputes whether we ever heard it at all. Were people mistaking their own internal voices—their very consciousness — for an almighty deity? And if so, how did that shape the evolution of organized religion? And what does hearing the voice of God have to do with cognitive functions, mental memories and a bicameral mind? Source: How Stuff Works (USA), 5th December 2017

AVATAR Therapy Shows Some Positive Outcomes, Now What? In a commentary published in the November issue of The Lancet Psychiatry, Ben Alderson-Day and Nev Jones comment on the state of AVATAR therapy. AVATAR therapy is a therapeutic approach in which individuals who hear voices design audio-visual representations of the voices and, along with their therapist, enter into a therapeutic dialogue with them. Source: Mad in America (USA), 1st December 2017


November

Avatar therapy ‘reduces power of schizophrenia voices’ Confronting an avatar on a computer screen helped patients hearing voices to cope better with hallucinations, a UK trial has found.Patients who received this therapy became less distressed and heard voices less often compared with those who had counselling instead.Experts said the therapy could add an important new approach to treating schizophrenia hallucinations. The trial, on 150 people, is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. It follows a much smaller pilot study in 2013. Source: BBC News (UK), 24th November 2017

Digitally Tracking Patients With Schizophrenia: The Future Is Here The FDA recently approved a new formulation of aripiprazole that includes an ingestible digital sensor that can record when the medication was taken by sending a signal to a wearable patch. This medication, Abilify MyCite, is now approved for use in schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, and as an add-on treatment for depression in adults. Some have questioned whether an ingestible medication that sends digital signals regarding adherence is appropriate for use in disorders like schizophrenia. Concerns that Abilify MyCite may increase paranoia and delusions have been raised. However, while concern for patient welfare is well intentioned, it may be more appropriate to consider what the evidence reveals about technology use and schizophrenia. Source: Psychiatric News (USA), 22nd November 2017

Religious delusions common among schizophrenics Patients with schizophrenia often suffer from religious delusions, especially in the United States, which has a higher rate of religious belief in the general population than many other industrialized countriesStudies of hospitalized patients with schizophrenia show 36 percent suffer from religious delusions in America, compared to 24 percent in Britain, 21 percent in Germany and 7 percent in Japan.In Egypt, the prevalence of religious delusions fluctuated over 20 years and was linked to changes in how much Islam was emphasized in the country. The studies reveal culture can have a powerful influence on the types of delusions and hallucinations people experience. Source: Mail Tribune (USA), 14th December 2017

Psychiatrist: US Doesn’t Need People ‘Hearing Voices’ Leading Troops Into Battle The US army has expanded its waivers for recruits with a history of particular mental health issues. People with a history of self-injuring, bipolar disorder, depression and addiction are now free to sign up. Dr. Elspeth Ritchie, a former chief psychiatrist in the army explained why such a decision has been made and what the risks of it are. Source: Sputnik News (Russia), 14th November 2017 

Does mental ‘illness’ exist? Mental health issues are hugely significant worldwide, but are we approaching them in the most effective and humane way? A leading professor of psychology says that “everybody’s crazy but nobody’s ill”—meaning that seeing mental distress as an illness is the wrong approach. We need a model of care which supports people who are distressed because of their social and life circumstances. Source: ABC News (Australia), 12th November 2017

Why Schizophrenia Genetic Research is Running on Empty In this interview, we discuss the evidence that psychiatry puts forward in support of the claim that mental disorders have an important genetic basis and the reasons why psychiatry is still searching after many decades of failed attempts. Source: Mad in America (USA), 11th December 2017

‘What was particularly scary about these voices is I am deaf and don’t normally hear people talking’ The first time I heard voices, I was 17 years old and in hospital receiving treatment for depression. They came out of nowhere – it was as if there were people talking behind me, except there was no one behind me. People think that when you hear a “voice in your head” it will be distorted or sound strange but these voices weren’t like that. It was as if there were two men talking just behind my back, men I didn’t know. What was particularly scary about these voices is I am deaf and don’t normally hear people talking with such perfect clarity. Source: The Journal (Ireland), 11th November 2017

‘I deserve more than to be thought of as crazy’: a journey through mental illness On 1 August 2016, Sophie, then aged 21, took her life. Her brother, Samuel, has edited a book, Tigerish Waters: Selected Writings of Sophie Reilly, of her prose, poetry and drama, from which this article has been adapted. All profits from the book will be donated to the Scottish Association of Mental Health. Source: The Guardian (UK), 9th November 2017

Crazy or Wise? Learning From Those Who Have Transcended Psychological Crisis The documentary CRAZYWISE, released earlier this year, challenges Western ideas of human suffering by considering the novel concept that other cultures might actually have something to offer us. Filmmakers Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson courageously explore how indigenous cultures have traditionally identified extreme psychic experiences as indicators of spiritual potential rather than a brain disease without cure. The film is both bold in its exploration of alternative narratives while also finding humility in its discoveries. Source: Mad in America, 8th November 2017

Radical new approach to schizophrenia treatment begins trial British scientists have begun testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system. The first patient, a 33-year old man who developed schizophrenia after moving to London from Cameroon a decade ago, was treated at King’s College Hospital in London on Thursday, marking the start of one of the most ambitious trials to date on the biology of the illness and how to treat it. During the next two years, 30 patients will receive monthly infusions of an antibody drug currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), which the team hopes will target the root causes of schizophrenia in a far more fundamental way than current therapies. Source: The Guardian (UK), 3rd November 2017

What is schizophrenia and why do some people hear voices and have hallucinations? Symptoms, causes and treatments Psychosis causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them, which can involve hallucinations and “hearing voices”. It can also include the sufferer having delusions, which is when they have a strong belief that isn’t shared by others. Source: The Sun (UK), 1st November 2017


October

Please Stop Calling Mental Illness a ‘Chemical Imbalance’  How many times have we either heard or uttered that or a similar phrase? I believed and repeated it ad nauseam. Why? Because it had become a part of the conversation surrounding mental health and wellness. Convenient, succinct and simplistic in its view of mental illness, the phrase and belief caught fire and permeated our consciousness.There’s only one problem: It hasn’t been proven to be trueIt’s not even a theory in the scientific sense. Source: The Mighty (USA), 25th October 2017

Epigenetics and gene expression profile in first-episode psychosis: The role of childhood trauma Childhood Trauma (CT) mediation of the epigenome and its impact on gene expression profile could provide a mechanism for the gene-environment interaction underling psychosis. We reviewed the evidence concerning epigenetic and gene expression modifications associated with CT in both First-Episode Psychosis (FEP) and healthy subjects. In order to explore the relative role of psychosis itself in determining these modifications, evidence about FEP and epigenetics/gene expression was also summarized. We performed a systematic search on PubMed, last updated in December 2016. Source: Neuroscience Biobehavorial Review,  19th October 2017

A quarter of women in prisons hear voices and nearly half have attempted suicide, figures reveal Nearly half of all women in prison have attempted suicide at some point in their lives, research from a charity reveals. Women in Prison found that despite making up just 5% of the total prison population in 2016, women accounted for around 21% of all incidents of self-harm behind bars up to June last year. Additionally 53% of women in prison have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse during childhood, while 46% are survivors of domestic abuse.Perhaps unsurprisingly then, one in four women in prisons, forensic secure units and Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) report “symptoms indicative of psychosis”, including voices, visions and other sensory perceptions. Source: Get West London (UK), 18th October 2017

Hearing things? Some auditory hallucinations might be caused by this phenomenon It’s an experience that you’ve probably had at least a few times; you could have sworn someone called your name but when you turned around, no one was there. You’re not alone in that, either. In fact, it’s estimated that as much as 15% of the general population has experienced some level of auditory hallucination, whether it be hearing your name or other distinct sounds that indicate something is there when it’s not. A smaller percentage of individuals deal with this on a routine basis, and the common conception is that the frequency of these experiences indicates some level of psychosis. And while some individuals suffering from psychosis do experience auditory hallucinations, there are many who experience auditory hallucinations unrelated to any mental health issues. A new study has taken to examining these types of individuals to uncover the hows and whys of this phenomenon. Source: CBC (Canada), 5th October 2017

The Touch of Madness Culture profoundly shapes our ideas about mental illness, which is something psychologist Nev Jones knows all too well. Source: Pacific Standard, 3rd October 2017

 


September

Are “Hearing Voices Groups” a Help or Harm? Hearing Voices Groups (HVG) are self-help groups for individuals who “hear voices” and their advocates. They meet in-person and online to encourage voice-hearers to discuss their experiences as they understand them in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. These groups originally appeared in the Netherlands in the late 1980s, but quickly spread throughout Europe and gained a firm foothold in the UK before coming to the US in the past decade. Hearing Voices Groups are often organized regionally or nationally into Hearing Voices Networks (HVNs). Collectively, HVGs and HVNs are part of the larger Hearing Voices Movement.

‘Voice hearers like myself were once written off – we’re due our own revolution and civil rights movement’ “I urge everyone reading this article to rethink ever using the s-word to describe someone again.”  The term schizophrenia only benefits the psychiatric and pharmaceutical companies and serves as a weapon and a blanket term which suffocates and destroys a person’s identity, their human rights and autonomy over their own minds, bodies, lives and personal stories. As we have seen in our past language can have a profoundly destructive and damaging power. Source: The Journal, (Ireland), 14th September 2017

Open Dialogue is a new way of dealing with mental health Bethany began her Open Dialogue sessions in the summer of 2016. “It helped! I was able to bring Mum with me and that was very reassuring. We spoke about what had happened and about my parents separation and school and the past. They were very good at listening and I felt very comfortable speaking to them – I never felt judged. “At first I was very scared about being judged for self-harming, and for talking about hearing voices- I didn’t want them to say I was crazy – but they were very reassuring and very helpful. “Everything that was said, was said in front of me so I got to hear their opinions. “Whatever was written in the book we got to read it and sign it, and you could add stuff in or take stuff out.” Bethany is currently almost at the the end of her Open Dialogue programme — her last session takes place this month: “I’m much better than before. The voices are very mellow now and they’re not as controlling. “I can control them and there might be the odd mean comment — I can hear it but it’s not very loud or abusive,” observes the teenager. Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland), 13th September 2017

How therapy eased the voices in my head Sussex Voices Clinic is the only one of its kind in the UK, and one of only four worldwide. The clinic aims to make it easier for patients who are distressed by hearing voices to access talking therapies, whilst continuing to improve the effectiveness of these therapies through research. Sheila said:  “The voices therapy for me has been a life changing experience in a positive way because before I didn’t know what was going on. “Mark was able to bring out the best in me. “Therapy taught me to relate to the voices and helped me understand it was part of my condition. “I can now enjoy socialising and can cope with other problems.“ Source: The Argus (UK), 13th September 2017

Study links induced hallucinations to hearing voices A recent Yale-led study showed that individuals who report hearing voices in their heads — whether or not they have a diagnosed psychotic illness — are more susceptible to induced hallucinations. Through a technique called Pavlovian conditioning, subjects were trained to associate a visual sign — a checkerboard — with the sound of a tone. After months of trials, all study participants reported hearing the tone, even when no sound was present. People who hear voices in their heads were much more likely to experience this hallucinatory effect, according to Chris Mathys, a professor at University College London and co-author of the study. Source: Yale News (USA), 12th September 2017

‘What have I become?’ Ray Liotta is unveiled as KFC’s brand new Colonel Sanders… who has a mental breakdown in new advert GoodFellas icon Ray Liotta has become the latest actor to play Colonel Sanders in a new commercial for KFC that was released online on Thursday. In a Scorcese-like touch, the Colonel loses his mind during the ad, hearing voices and developing split personalities, before wailing: ‘What have I become?’ Source: Daily Mail (UK), 8th September 2017

‘Hearing Voices’ in Schizophrenia May Trace to Specific Brain Region For people with schizophrenia, “hearing voices” is a common symptom that can be disturbing. But a new study from France suggests that stimulating a precise spot in such patients’ brains may ease these auditory hallucinations. Source: Live Science (USA), 6th September 2017

Schizophrenia ‘voices’ quietened by magnetic stimulation A new study confirms the brain region involved in generating the”voices” that occur in schizophrenia. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation, researchers were able to reduce the severity of this disturbing symptom. Source: Medical News Today (UK), 5th September 2017

Scientists identify part of the brain that makes schizophrenia sufferers hear ‘voices’ Researchers have discovered the part of the brain that produces the “voices” that some schizophrenia sufferers are tormented by and managed to partially silence them by using magnetic pulse therapy. Source: Daily Telegraph (UK), 5th September 2017


August

Mentally healthy but hearing voices increases suicide risk, study warns People who hear voices or see things others cannot are twice as likely to subsequently have suicidal thoughts or attempt to take their own lives than the rest of the population, a new international study says. The head of the project, Professor John McGrath, said if those people experienced the voices or visions at the age of 13 or younger, the risk was five-fold. “The bottom line is, just reporting these experiences, they do have an increased risk of subsequent suicidal thoughts and behaviour?” he said. Source: ABC News (Australia), 31st August 2017

Hearing Voices Doesn’t Always Indicate Mental Illness, Study Says People who are capable of hearing internal voices may utilize atypical abilities when the brain processes new sounds, according to a study conducted by researchers from University College London and Durham University. Individuals that possess this form of unusually good hearing didn’t indicate possible mental health issues, but they have an enhanced ability in determining meaningful speech patterns and ambiguous sounds. Source: International Business News, (USA), 30th August 2017

Is This the Real Thing? How the Brain Separates Fantasy From Reality Although we mostly associate hearing voices and other sensory illusions with mental illness, the truth is up to 5 to 15 percent of the general population experiences some type of auditory hallucinations in their lifetimes. Roughly one percent may hear those ghostly whispers or melodies quite often—they just ignore it or accept it as part of their normal lives It’s this one percent that caught Yale psychiatrist Dr. Albert Power’s attention. “We wanted to understand what’s common and what’s protecting people who hallucinate but who don’t require psychological intervention,” he says. Previous studies have found that hallucinations activate the part of the brain normally responsible for processing those stimuli—an imagined “ding” fires up the auditory cortex, for example. But how hallucinations come about remained a mystery. According to Powers, it’s all about expectation. Hallucinations arise when the brain’s prediction or belief of what should happen overrides the senses. Source: SingularityHub (USA), 30th August 2017

Auditory hallucinations, not necessarily a hallmark of psychotic disorder Auditory hallucinations (AH) are often considered a sign of a psychotic disorder. This is promoted by the DSM-5 category of Other Specified Schizophrenia Spectrum And Other Psychotic Disorder (OSSSOPD), the diagnostic criteria for which are fulfilled with the sole presence of persistent AH, in the absence of any other psychotic symptoms. And yet, persistent AH are not synonymous with having a psychotic disorder, and should therefore not be uncritically treated as such. Many people who seek treatment for persistent AH have no other psychotic symptoms, have preserved reality-testing capacities, and will never develop a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Instead, hallucinations may be the result of many different causes, including borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, sleep disorders or brain lesions, and they may even occur outside the context of any demonstrable pathology. In such cases, the usage of the DSM-5 diagnosis of OSSSOPD would be incorrect, and it may prompt unwarranted treatment with antipsychotic medication. We therefore argue that a DSM-5 diagnosis of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder (or any other type of psychotic disorder) characterized by AH should require at least one more symptom listed under the A-criterion (i.e. delusions, disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior or negative symptoms). Adhering to these more stringent criteria may help to distinguish between individuals with persistent AH which are part of a psychotic disorder, for whom antipsychotic medication may be helpful, and individuals with AH in the absence of such a disorder who may benefit from other approaches (e.g. different pharmacological interventions, improving coping style, trauma-related therapy). Source: Psychological Medicine (UK), 22nd August 2017

Auditory hallucinations induced with Pavlovian conditioning When people hear voices others can’t, the prevailing scientific model describes this as psychosis due to brain abnormality, chemical imbalance, or other affliction. But scientists have now reliably induced auditory hallucinations in some people not diagnosed with psychosis. Source: BoingBoing (USA), 18th August 2017

Mindfulness of voices, self-compassion, and secure attachment in relation to the experience of hearing voices Developing compassion towards oneself has been linked to improvement in many areas of psychological well-being, including psychosis. Furthermore, developing a non-judgemental, accepting way of relating to voices is associated with lower levels of distress for people who hear voices. These factors have also been associated with secure attachment. This study explores associations between the constructs of mindfulness of voices, self-compassion, and distress from hearing voices and how secure attachment style related to each of these variables.  Source: Wiley Online Library (UK), 12th August 2017

Voice-Hearers Without Mental Illness are Better at Detecting Speech Patterns in Noise The brains of healthy people who hear voices may have an enhanced ability to detect meaningful speech patterns in ambiguous sounds, according to new research led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).Many people who hear voices, also known as auditory verbal hallucinations, have a mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, not all voice-hearers have mental illness. In fact, it is estimated that between five and 15 percent of the general population have had an occasional experience of hearing voices, with as many as one percent having more complex and regular voice-hearing experiences in the absence of any need for psychiatric car. This study involved people who regularly hear voices, but do not have a mental health problem. The researchers say this insight into the brain mechanisms of healthy voice-hearers may ultimately help scientists find more effective ways to help people who find their voices disturbing.


July

Study Finds Hearing Voices Groups Improve Social and Emotional Wellbeing  A new study, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, explores the impact of attending English Hearing Voices Network self-help groups on social, emotional, and clinical well-being. The results of the survey suggest that attending voice hearing groups provides a venue for meeting other voice hearers, support that voice hearers do not receive from other services, and a safe and confidential space where voice hearers can talk about difficult experiences. Source: Mad in America (USA), 20th July 2017

Hearing Voices in the USA This is a movement that represents an alliance between individuals who hear voices, see visions, or have other unusual (or extraordinary) experiences, family, friends and providers. Its origins lead back to the collaborative efforts of a psychiatrist (Marius Romme), a professor (Sandra Escher), and a voice hearer (Patsy Hage). Source: Mad in America (USA), 13th July 2017

Do patients who hear voices have the right to refuse psychiatric medicine? A growing movement says yes This approach underlies a controversial international movement that raises fundamental questions about what it means to be mentally ill. The question at the heart of the debate: Do patients who hear voices — and suffer other symptoms that psychiatrists would consider severe —  have the right to direct their treatment, even if that means rejecting conventional therapies, such as psychiatric medication? Source: Stat (USA), 13th July 2017

Hearing Voices – Print Room @ The Coronet Mental illness is one of the last great stigmas of modern society, it’s also one of the oldest. From the horrifying tales of Victorian asylums to modern definitions of PTSD, those who struggle with a mental illness have often found themselves on the fringes of society. Jocelyn Pook’s new show Hearing Voices sets first person testimony to music while using drama and projection to show us what it’s like ‘living with psychosis and hallucination’. Source: Review Hub (UK), 12th July 2017

When Switching Antipsychotics, No Difference Between Immediate and Gradual Discontinuation   A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletinfinds no significant differences in adverse events between immediate and gradual discontinuation of an antipsychotic when switching from one antipsychotic to another. This outcome contradicts previous research suggesting gradual tapering as a safer method. Source: Mad in America (USA), 13th July 2017

I used to be psychotic and then I heard a voice again…and it helped me a lot  So there I was, some 16 years or so since I last heard voices labeled as psychosis,  and then I  had another experience.  I heard my  name  being called out from a street cafe…I couldnt see anyone attached to the voice. Having had a look around, from where I was standing, I slowly took a few steps backwards towards the cafe, just to see who it was that had called my name. Alas, I could not see who it was. What I did notice is that all the people in the cafe had appeared not to notice my name being called out. Fortunately, I was not overly concerned but perhaps a little surprised by this clear and concise calling of my name. Source: Humane Clinic (Australia), 2nd July 2017


June

Why Hearing ‘Voices’ May Not Necessarily Be a Bad Thing, Psychics may be able to harness coping mechanisms to help others: When people say they hear voices no one else can, it can be an indication of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, or it could be some sort of auditory hallucination—and per Joseph Frankel’s examination in the Atlantic, some scientists think such a sensory glitch might not always be bad. They say that whether hearing voices causes psychological distress may come down to one’s environment, meaning how one feels about the voices he or she hears may depend on whether the surrounding society immediately deems such a confession as evidence of psychosis, or if it barely raises a collective eyebrow. This social support, or lack of it, is what intrigued Philip Corlett and Albert Powers (a Yale psychologist and psychiatrist, respectively), and so they set out to find a group of “healthy voice hearers” to help the researchers “understand where disorder and difference intersect.” Source: Newser (USA), 30th June 2017

Psychics Who Hear Voices Could Be On to Something The researchers at Yale were looking for a group of people who hear voices at least once a day, and had never before interacted with the mental-health-care system. They wanted to understand, as Corlett put it, those who do not suffer when “the mind deviates from consensual reality.” Source: The Atlantic (USA), 27th June 2017

What makes it impossible to ignore voices? Many of the ‘symptoms’ of the hearing voices experience are the result of how the phenomenology and what voices say provoke our thinking – leading to unusual thoughts and explanations, some of which become problematic ‘beliefs’ – both delusional and limiting. Everything flows from the phenomenology – our brain (body) REACTS, our MIND seeks out a response. The mere presence of voices leads to an involuntary reaction/response, not derived from our real world environment. Each reaction/response is an exchange of information and emotions that moves the relationship between hearer and voices along – with both transactional and story components. This mimics any conversation with another human, which affords it the level of significance of a relationship, at least. An abusive relationship, since it is imposed on the hearer. That is not something you ignore. Source: LinkedIn (USA), 27th June 2017

Budding director wins competition to make a documentary on schizophrenia for the BBC “In my research for the documentary I had great help from the charity Hearing Voices Network, which educated me about schizophrenia and put me in the right direction in terms of how I will make the film.” Source: Leigh Journal (USA), 27th June 2017

Schizophrenia Deconstructed:  After a few weeks it became clear to me the very real confusion, misunderstanding, and complete lack of comprehension that I faced as a person claiming to have been cured of psychosis. Being a schizophrenic claiming to no longer suffer from schizophrenia only made me seem more schizophrenic due to the current culture of psychiatry. I was drowning in the fact that the stigma of being psychiatrically disabled would not cease so easily with a t-shirt and a self-made sanity card. I suffered heavily from survivor guilt after seeing a schizophrenic man talking to himself on the bus. I couldn’t escape the injustice. I became despondent, isolated, frightened and sad. Source: Mad in America (USA), 26th June 2017

‘Urgent action’ needed over anti-psychotic drug clozapine following deaths Data on antipsychotic drug clozapine found Daniel was one of 13 New Zealanders who have died from the gut anomaly, prompting both Alan and Wellington researchers to call on drug manufacturing companies to take urgent action. The condition, also known as gastrointestinal hypomotility can result in severe constipation, bowel obstruction, or death, said researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and Capital & Coast DHB.Clozapine is one of the main treatments for schizophrenia, and works better than any other medication in about one-third of people.Researchers analysed all 160 reported cases of serious clozapine-induced ‘slow-gut’ submitted to New Zealand and Australian agencies over a 22 year period. At least 29 of these patients died, including 13 New Zealanders. Serious slow-gut reactions affected clozapine users of all ages in this study, from a 17-year-old boy to 73-year-old man. Source: Stuff (New Zealand), 20th June 2017

Bradford mental health charity puts city on map for ground-breaking ‘hearing voices’ work A MENTAL health charity in Bradford has set up the UK’s first centre for people to ‘unpack’ their life stories, helping unlock why they hear voices. About 50 experts, including psychiatrists, from across the country, Europe and as far as Australia, met in Bradford on Wednesday to hear more about the specialist work happening at MIND in the city, thanks to £8,000 funding from Bradford Council. Workers at the charity have helped 40 people since September, using the ground-breaking Maastricht Approach where a series of interviews are carried out one-to-one, encouraging people to talk about their experiences. The client’s own words are written out as a report, which they can change until they are happy, before a short version is produced. “It’s best described as unpacking their experiences. When it’s down on paper, the voices can be understood better and often they are not as negative as people first fear. People can take more control. When that happens, often the voices settle down and people start to have healthier relationships with them,” said Oli Anderson, who is part of the Maastricht team. Source: Telegraph and Argus (UK), 15th June 2017

Hearing Voices in the UK For years, hearing voices served as a symbol of a fear we all share – losing our minds. But voice hearing is now known to be an experience of almost limitless range, from cruel distress to creativity and meaning. The UK is at the forefront of a movement that has changed the way patients and psychiatrists view the voices that some people hear. Christopher Harding is in his adopted homeland of Scotland to explore how our ideas about the mind, and about reality shape these experiences and what life is like for voice hearers in the UK today. Source: The Borderlines of Insanity, BBC Radio 4 (UK), 15th June 2017

It’s common for children to report hearing voices, researchers say Although the way we view and support people with mental health difficulties has improved over the years, experiences such as hearing voices and seeing visions are often still associated with “severe and enduring mental illness”. But what is less well-known about these voices and visions is that they are surprisingly common – especially when growing up. Around 8 percent of young people are thought to hear voices at some stage in childhood, with up to 75 percent having a one-off experience of voice hearing. This makes hearing voices about as common for as having asthma or dyslexia. For many children, then, it seems that hearing voices is a pretty normal part of growing up. Source: Medial Xpress, (USA), 14th June 2017

The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions Neuroscientists have used a classic branch of maths in a totally new way to peer into the structure of our brains. What they’ve discovered is that the brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions. We’re used to thinking of the world from a 3-D perspective, so this may sound a bit tricky, but the results of this new study could be the next major step in understanding the fabric of the human brain – the most complex structure we know of. This latest brain model was produced by a team of researchers from the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss research initiative devoted to building a supercomputer-powered reconstruction of the human brain. The team used algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics used to describe the properties of objects and spaces regardless of how they change shape. They found that groups of neurons connect into ‘cliques’, and that the number of neurons in a clique would lead to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object (a mathematical dimensional concept, not a space-time one). Source: Science Alert, (USA), 13th June 2017

What Both the Media and Mental Health Professionals Get Wrong About Hearing Voices For a long time, conventional wisdom has held that those who hear voices in their head are crazy. And while that’s how things are commonly depicted in media, and even treated by mental health professionals, there’s a big problem: it’s not true. Source: attn (USA), 9th June 2017

‘Mad’ Psychologist Speaks Out I am driving to my work as a clinical psychologist, doing battle with the abuse-related voices in my head… When I arrive at work, I attend a meeting during which a patient who is hearing similar voices, which also relate to the abuse she suffered as a child, is told that she is suffering from ‘schizophrenia.’ The psychiatrist informs her that she must take antipsychotic medication for life, that she has “no hope of anything amounting to a normal life,” that she “will never work,” “will never improve or recover” and must no longer drive her car. There is talk of writing to the licensing authority, with a view to having her license removed, so that she will no longer be permitted to drive. The patient protests that she needs the car to take her children to school. What is she going to do, she asks — how is she going to be able to cope without her car? I try to speak up in support of her. The voices she hears relate to the abuse she suffered as a child, I explain. There are ways we could help her to understand the meaning of the voices and manage the voice hearing from a psychological perspective. However, her protests and my explanations are all in vain. Our voices are not heard. The only voice which counts is the psychiatrist’s. Source: Mad in America (USA), 6th June 2017


May

Radiohead talk recording ‘OK Computer’ in a haunted house Frontman Thom Yorke: “Ghosts would talk to me while I was asleep. There was one point where I got up in the morning after a night of hearing voices and decided I had to cut my hair.” The singer described how he proceeded to attempt to cut his hair with “the little scissors on a penknife” and “cut myself a few times. It got messy. Elaborating on his psyche during the making of ‘OK Computer’, Yorke said: “I was basically catatonic. The claustrophobia – just having no sense of reality at all… I was getting into the sense of information overload, which is ironic, really, since it’s so much worse now.” “The paranoia I felt at the time was much more related to how people related to each other,” he added. “But I was using the terminology of technology to express it. Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you’re always in transit. That’s what I had to write about because that’s what was going on, which in itself instilled a kind of loneliness and disconnection.” Source: NME (UK), 31st May 2017

God knows where I am Patients are considered insightful when they can reinterpret unusual occurrences—growing angel’s wings, feeling as if their organs have been removed, decoding political messages in street signs—as psychiatric symptoms. In the absence of any clear neurological marker of psychosis, the field revolves around a paradox: an early sign of sanity is the ability to recognize that you’ve been insane. (A “correct attitude,” for most Western psychiatrists, would exclude interpretations featuring spirits, demons, or karmic disharmony.) Source: New Yorker, 30th May 2017

Do YOU live in a city? You’re more likely to hear voices inside your head due to the stress of urban-living Living in a city significantly increases the risk of psychotic experiences, such as hearing voices and paranoia, research has shown. Young people growing up in urban areas were 40 per cent more likely to have had such episodes than their countryside counterparts. For those living in areas with more crime, a whopping 62 per cent reported psychotic experiences. Source: Daily Mail (UK), 23rd May 2017

This mum’s mental health disorder causes her to have frightening hallucinations Unfortunately, I do believe there is still a stigma attached to mental health as I have experienced this first hand many times. For example, I have been asked if I am dangerous, which could not be further from the truth. I have also heard people talking about me and find that really hurtful. Although all this upsets me, I have come to realise that people need more education when it comes to mental health – both understanding what people are going through and learning how to cope when someone close to you suffers from a condition. It’s not our fault. Source: Wales Online (UK), 17th May 2017

 New computer game examines challenges of living with psychosis A company in Cambridge is developing a computer game based on the experiences of people living with psychosisNinja Theory has spent the last two years speaking to people about their hallucinations so they can translate them to the small screen. They have developed the game: ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’, which is now almost complete. The protagonist, Senua, is a celtic warrior whose lover was killed in a Viking invasion. The trauma has led her to develop psychosis – she sees visions and hears voices. Source: ITV News, 9th May 2017

Verdict On ‘Why Did I Go Mad?’ Nice Try, Could Do Better With Mental Health Awareness Week fast approaching, we have seen an explosion of mental health programmes on primetime TV. On Tuesday 2 May, BBC2 aired a ‘Horizon’ episode titled ‘Why Did I Go Mad?’ which looked at different experiences, different causes and different treatments for psychosis. Source: Huff Post (UK), 8th May 2017

 What causes psychosis? Horizon:  Why Did I Go Mad? tries to help us understand Trying to imagine such a thing is less than halfway to understanding it, but it’s a pretty good place to start.  In 1999, Dr David Strange, who was then studying for a PhD in epidemiology at Oxford, was with his supervisor when something horrible happened. Looking down, he saw that there were “rat-like things” all over his feet. Naturally, he was terrified: these creatures, he understood, were going to eat him alive from the inside. And yet his supervisor seemed not to have noticed them. Making his excuses, Strange ran all the way home and hid under his bed. Source: New Statesman (UK), 4th May 2017

Two simple questions that have changed the way people hear inner voices Once the province of prophets, “hearing voices” is still shorthand for madness. And yet  in the past 30 years, a new understanding has been created by voice-hearers themselves, as part of the Hearing Voices Movement. This suggests that uncovering the roots of the voice can potentially help the hearer. Source: The Conversation (UK), 3rd May, 2017

Spaceship’s Alex Taylor: How I made my first feature film After graduating in archaeology, I was working on an excavation when I started hearing voices. I was in the bottom of a pit on a Bronze Age settlement dig down in Southampton, and while I was used to unearthing people’s stories from the past, these voices seemed to be alive and from somewhere inside me. Source: The Independent (UK), 2nd May 2017


April

Why Did I Go Mad? Horizon (BBC) follows three people living with voices, hallucinations and paranoia, to explore what causes this kind of phenomena. Providing a rare first-hand insight into these experiences, they reveal just what it is like to live with them day to day. They examine the impact of social, biological and environmental influences on conditions traditionally associated with insanity, such as schizophrenia and psychosis, and within the film they look at how new ways of understanding the brain are leading to a dramatic change in treatments and approaches, and examine whether targeting the root causes of psychosis can lead to recovery. Above all, they try to uncover why it happened to them – and whether it could happen to you. Source: BBC (UK), April 27th, 2017

The hallucinations were 100% real to me. But people were telling me there was nothing there’ At times it felt like there was no hope of recovery at all, writes Brian Scallan. Source: The Journal (Ireland), April 25th, 2017

Speaking up on mental health to challenge the stigma of schizophrenia The voices, she explains, are a bit like sitting in a busy restaurant and hearing loads of people talking at the same time, There is still stigma around schizophrenia, she says: “I have been called “schizo” and have had remarks like “aw did she forget to take her crazy pills?” “I have lost many friends, been accused of being an attention-seeker, faking illness and I have been asked on numerous occasions if I have a split personality. Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland), 24th April 2017

Mental health in NZ: What’s it like to hear voices? Ever wondered what it’s like to hear voices in your head? For mental health workers in New Zealand, the experience is part of their training. For the last 20 years former mental health patient Arana Pearson has run a workshop for mental health clinicians, where they try to live an average day while wearing headphones that whisper voices into their minds. Source: News Hub (New Zealand), 22nd April 2017

A Contested Experience: The Multiple Meanings Of ‘Hearing Voices’ What do you think of when it is said that someone is ‘hearing voices’? For many people, nothing good comes to mind; mental illness, violence, a broken brain. Even in the wizarding world, J.K. Rowling tells us, hearing voices is not a good sign. But why do people, and wizards apparently, think this? Source: Huff Post (UK), 21st April 2017

‘Hearing voices’ good for writers In ‘Can’t You Hear Them? The Science and Significance of Hearing Voices’, Simon McCarthy explores new balanced ways to look at the phenomenon. He found that some fiction writers who experience the often stigmatised ‘voice-hearing’ may view their characters as “independent beings, whose presence is felt and whose voices are heard”. Their voices may even give plot points and storylines. Source: Independent.ie (Ireland), 21st April  2017

New Publication: ‘On Shame and Voice-hearing’ by Angela Woods Hearing voices in the absence of another speaker—what psychiatry terms an auditory verbal hallucination—is often associated with a wide range of negative emotions. Mainstream clinical research addressing the emotional dimensions of voice-hearing has tended to treat these as self-evident, undifferentiated and so effectively interchangeable. But what happens when a richer, more nuanced understanding of specific emotions is brought to bear on the analysis of distressing voices? Source: Hearing the Voice (UK), April 11th, 2017

Unusual Beliefs and Mental Well-Being A growing body of research and practice is showing that the most effective, humane and mutually transformative way to help someone deal with unusual beliefs and experiences is not to deny, argue, institutionalize or drug them out of their perceived reality. Rather, it is to invite the person to talk about their beliefs and experiences, and actively listen without judging them or trying to modify their beliefs. Find out about their reality, and then look for ways to help them cope more effectively with things as they perceive them. Source: Mad in America (USA), 9th April 2017

Danish Study Finds Better 10-year Outcomes in Patients Off Antipsychotics Study of 496 persons diagnosed with first-episode psychosis finds that 74% of patients off medication at end of 10 years were in remission. Source: Mad in America (USA), 7th April 2017

Mind Taunton and West Somerset’s Hearing Voices Group saved by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust funding A charity-run group that supports people who hear voices in their heads has been saved from closure thanks to NHS funding. The Hearing Voices Group, run by mental health charity Mind Taunton and West Somerset since October, was threatened with closure until Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust stepped in with a year’s funding. Source: Somerset County Gazette, 4th April 2017

Tip of the Iceberg: How Professionals Cling to the Disease Model We should demand immediate changes to the harmful ways professionals label and make pessimistic assumptions around human distress, and we must do so loudly and unapologetically. Source: Mad in America (USA), 2nd April 2017

It didn’t start with you: How inherited family trauma shaped who we are  Emerging trends in psychotherapy are now beginning to point beyond the traumas of the individual to include traumatic events in the family and social history as a part of the whole picture. Source: Core Spirit (USA), 2nd April 2017


March

Living with schizophrenia: ‘I’m pretty much excluded from society’ There’s considerable misunderstanding about schizophrenia, as experienced by readers living with the disorder. As part of the MQ campaign Speak your Mind, they explain some of the issues they have faced. Source: The Guardian (UK), 31st March 2017

Professionals Push Back on Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual, Propose Alternatives As a response to shortcomings of the current mental health diagnostic system, professionals are developing alternative classification systems as well as uniting toward systemic reform. This article summarizes a recently proposed alternative system published earlier this month in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology alongside a historical overview of the larger reform movement, recently outlined in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Source: Mad in America (USA), 31st March 2017

Dear David Coleman: My 9-year-old is hearing voices – please help!  When children do report hearing voices it is important to take it seriously, but without panicking! Hearing voices does often indicate that a child has some kind of problem that isn’t resolving itself. Source: Independent Ireland (Ireland), 28th March 2017

Study Connects Environmental Risk Factors and Psychosis Study Connects Environmental Risk Factors and Psychosis  A meta-analysis of known risk factors for psychosis finds elevated risk with the presence of childhood trauma, adverse life events, and affective dysfunction. Source: Mad in America (USA), 30th March 2017

Shrines, shackles and schizophrenia There is a need to clarify the relevance of beliefs about mental illness and psychiatric treatment, and the deep connections between availability and cost of psychiatric treatment and care. Source: Daily Times (Pakistan), 27th March 2017

Crazy…or wise? The traditional wisdom of indigenous cultures often contradicts modern views about a mental health crisis. Is it a ‘calling’ to grow or just a ‘broken brain’? The documentary CRAZYWISE explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience. Source: CrazyWise, 27th March 2017

The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open Norway’s Health Ministry Orders Medication-Free Treatment … in this remote outpost, on a hospital floor that had been closed but was recently refurbished, that one can find a startling sign on the door to the ward: medikamentfritt behandlingstilbud. The translation to English: medication free treatment. And this is an initiative that the Norwegian Ministry of Health ordered its four regional health authorities to create. Source: Mad in America (USA), 25th March 2017

The People with Psychosis Embracing the Voices They Hear A growing movement of people with schizophrenia and other conditions argue that hearing voices shouldn’t necessarily be treated clinically—but many leading psychiatrists disagree. Source: Broadly Vice (USA), 21st March 2017

How friends and family can help those who at risk of psychosis The way you listen to someone claiming to have paranormal experiences makes a difference. Source: Independent (UK), 15th March 2017

More experience hallucinations than previously thought – study Over 4% of people have experienced auditory and/or visual hallucinations, which is far more than had previously been thought, according to research by a psychiatrist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The research found that contrary to general belief, hallucinations occur less among those suffering from schizophrenia than among those who do not. In fact, the study found hallucinations more commonly occur across a range of mental illnesses and even among people who do not suffer from mental illness at all. Source: RTE (Ireland), 1st March 2017


February

Transformations to Liberation Transformation in my life truly began when I had the courage to voice for the first time my lived experiences of voices, visions, other “unusual” perceptions and extreme states. It was May of 2014 and the opportunity presented itself for me to attend the first Hearing Voices Network Facilitator Certification Training offered in Connecticut. During this three day training, I gave voice to the most profoundly secret, silenced part of my being. Never before had I shared my experiences, yet I felt safe to do so during this training with complete strangers. Source: Mad in America (USA), 27th February 2017

Richmond Wellbeing helps Cannington woman find solace from voices Two years ago Mrs Luckman found solace in group therapy at Richmond Wellbeing where their Hearing Voices program and group therapy sessions empower people in similar situations to integrate into society and accept that voices and related experiences, such as visions are valid human experiences. Source: Canning Times (Australia), 20th February 2017

The voices in your head: Nursing students walk a mile in the shoes of a mental health patient Nursing students at Algonquin College are learning to put themselves in the shoes of someone who hears voices. The students try do ordinary things while listening to a recording of the kinds of voices that plague people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The point of the exercise is twofold: to increase the students’ empathy for people with mental illness, and to show them that those who hear voices often develop coping strategies to tune out or stop the voices, says nursing professor Carmen Hust. Source: Ottowa Citizen (Canada), 17th February 2017

Hallucinations Are Far More Common Than We’ve Been Led to Believe, Study Suggests New research has found that hallucinations are far more common among the general population than most people realise – and they aren’t limited to disorders commonly associated with psychosis, such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. A study looking at more than 7,400 people in the UK found that 4.3 percent of participants had experienced either visual or auditory hallucinations in the past year – this included people with and without mental health issues, and showed that the phenomenon wasn’t limited to those with psychosis. Source: Science Alert (USA), 16th February 2017

The Road To Recovery  Claire Bien and Rebecca McCann spoke about their struggles and recovery from mental health conditions, during a presentation and discussion at the Unitarian Universalist Society, on Jan. 29. The talk, ‘In Our Own Voice,’ was sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an organization committed to educating the public and removing the stigma of mental health. Bien’s and McCann’s presentation was supplemented by a video, which featured people who faced down their mental health diagnosis and fought to overcame them. Bien, the author of Hearing Voices, Living Fully, had been plagued with auditory hallucinations for years. At points, she contemplated suicide. The talk focused on five stages in dealing with mental health conditions: dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, and successes. Source: Hartford Courant (USA), 16th February 2017

Fictional characters make ‘experiential crossings’ into real life, study finds Researchers at Durham University conducted a survey of more than 1,500 readers, with about 400 providing detailed descriptions of their experiences with book. Nineteen per cent of those respondents said the voices of fictional characters stayed with them even when they weren’t reading, influencing the style and tone of their thoughts – or even speaking to them directly. For some participants it was as if a character “had started to narrate my world”, while others heard characters talking, or imagined them reacting to things going on in everyday life. Source: The Guardian (UK), 14th Febraury 2017

“Active Minds” — What Conversation Are We Changing? Why do conversations about the difficulties behind the experience of living as a human being always have to turn to the medical model to find validity? Why not take pride in our humanity, extreme sadness and despair included? The medical model is so ingrained in our world that it is often difficult to fully take in this point of view, but at the very least, shouldn’t alternative resources be available? Shouldn’t Active Minds talk about the Hearing Voices Network, Alternatives to Suicide groups, the Icarus Project, and other alternative resources as well as traditional ones? Source: Mad in America (USA), 14th February 2017

Hearing the voice of Virginia Woolf It is fitting that in penning her goodbye, even in insanity, Virginia was poetically circular. It was voices in her head that first inspired her to write, and voices that carried her away again, out of temporal reality, and into the dark waters. Source: Palatinate (UK), 12th February 2017

Understanding Extreme States: An Interview with Lloyd Ross “What kind of hope do you have if someone tells you you have a brain disease called schizophrenia, and we can only give you this drug that can hold it down but can’t cure it? What kind of hope is that?” There are better, more hopeful ideas available for supporting people experiencing extreme states, and in this interview we go in search of them. Source: Mad in America (USA), 5th February 2017

Hearing voices and seeing things: The common hallucinations affecting 1.6 million people in England Hallucinations may be much more common in the general population that previously thought. More than one and a half million people may have experienced hallucinations at some point, whether they are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or not. The findings of a recent study suggest that hallucinations are not exclusively symptoms of psychosis. People who experience them may not necessarily be suffering from schizophrenia. “Hallucinations are more common than people realise. They can be frightening experiences, and few people openly talk about it. Our research is valuable because it can show them they are not alone and that having these symptoms is not necessarily associated with having a mental health disorder. It breaks the taboo that surrounds hallucinations”, Kelleher explained. The scientists say that although hallucinations don’t necessarily point to a pathology, but call for more research to be conducted to look at long-term outcomes for people who report these symptoms. The idea is to see who is more at risk of developing mental health problems in the long run, and whether these people can be helped before this happens. Source: International Business News, 2nd February 2017


January

Voices inside A groundbreaking and innovative approach to supporting people who hear voices in prisons and secure units is about to be launched in the North East of England Mind in Camden’s Voices Unlocked project was set up in 2010. It has supported over a thousand people who hear voices, see visions or experience unusual sensations and beliefs, and who are in prisons or secure units. Its aim is to set up a network of Hearing Voices peer support groups in forensic settings. With the support of Hearing the Voice, a large interdisciplinary voice-hearing research project based at Durham University, Mind in Camden will be travelling to Durham in February to deliver training to staff from prisons and secure units in the North East. Voices Unlocked hopes to launch a North East Prisons and Secure Units Hearing Voices network in the second half of 2017. Source: Inside Time (UK), 31st January 2016

It’s important to listen to imaginary voices – just ask Virginia Woolf Woolf’s private agonies of soul lay behind the glamorous iconic image: between the ages of 13 (when her mother died), and 33 (when her first novel was published), she suffered a series of major psychotic breakdowns, involving, most famously, birds singing in ancient Greek. But she learned to manage the public image, accepting the hereditary-genius stereotype as the daughter of the irascible and often brilliant Leslie Stephen and using the infamous rest cure for “neurasthenia” as an opportunity to withdraw into creative mind-wandering.She also learned to manage the voices and had no further complete breakdown until the end of her life. Populists, feminists, literary critics, gay activists, have since claimed her as their own. But her archive can be seen as a serious resource for research into the experience of hearing voices. In a 1919 essay, Woolf exhorted her reader to scientifically “examine an ordinary mind on an ordinary day”. She saw no contradiction in describing the mind as a visionary “luminous halo” in the very next sentence. Her voices were at once mystical experiences and objects of her own scientific investigation. Source: The Conversation (USA), 24th January 2017

Kate Beckinsale reflects on her first sleep paralysis incident Kate Beckinsale revealed she was left terrified after experiencing a seemingly bizarre incident while sleeping. The star, who feared she’d suffered a stroke in her sleep, was momentarily unable to move and experienced a series of odd hallucinations.It turns out she was merely going through an episode of sleep paralysis, as she later came to learn. She told Total Film magazine: “I had one crazy episode of sleep paralysis. I had actual auditory hallucination”. Source: Morning Ticker (USA), 22nd January 2017

Westworld and the Meaning of Life Westworld’s creators base their definitions on the work of Julian Jaynes, a psychologist who, in the 1970s, wrote a controversial book entitled The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (say that five times fast). In the book, Jaynes lays out a theory known as Bicameralism, which claims that human beings did not experience self-awareness until roughly the time of Homer. Up until that point, according to Jaynes, human beings instead heard “divine commands,” in the form of auditory hallucinations, transmitted from the right hemisphere to the left. Source: Film School Rejects (USA), 20th January 2017

The Radical Movement Redefining Schizophrenia People with unquiet minds are locked up, medicated, and stigmatized. Now an international support network is telling them they might not be sick at all. Source: Foreign Policy (USA), 16th January 2017

What It’s Like to Hear Voices in Your Head Every Day People who hear voices often instill suspicion in the imaginations of those who don’t, but it’s more common than you’d think: Between 4 to 8 percent of the population experience what’s known as “auditory verbal hallucinations.” That’s potentially 600 million people worldwide. And while 40 percent of us will hear voices at some point in our lives, many affected, like Waddingham, lead fulfilling, healthy lives. A common misconception, perhaps fed by the kind of “drug-crazed schizophrenic” headlines you see in the Mail, is that people who hear voices have a form of psychosis. It’s one of the most common features, granted, but the majority of voice hearers aren’t diagnosed with schizophrenia. For them, voice hearing is an everyday experience that isn’t associated with being unwell. Source: Vice (USA), 12th January 2017

How I cope with the three unwanted voices that live inside my head Recognizing that my own mind was the best tool for owning my response was a breakthrough. It’s also fortunate that I knew NLP principles, and that I’m naturally stubborn and confident and have a strong support network of family and friends. 300 million people hear voices worldwide and many aren’t so blessed. I count myself lucky. Source: The Telegraph (UK), 11th January 2016

Yale Team Studies Psychics To Learn About Schizophrenia One of the major symptoms of schizophrenia is hearing voices – but people who believe they’re psychic also hear voices. A team of Yale psychologists thinks there’s a connection. Their new study takes an unorthodox approach to understanding mental illness. Source: NPR News (USA), 12th January 2017

Why do people talk to themselves, and when does it become a problem? Charles Fernyhough, a British professor of psychology at Durham University, in England, studies such “inner speech.” At the start of “The Voices Within” (Basic), he also identifies himself as a voluble self-speaker, relating an incident where, in a crowded train on the London Underground, he suddenly became self-conscious at having just laughed out loud at a nonsensical sentence that was playing in his mind. He goes through life hearing a wide variety of voices: “My ‘voices’ often have accent and pitch; they are private and only audible to me, and yet they frequently sound like real people.” Source: New Yorker (USA), 9th January 2017

Heal Thy Self | Hearing Voices? A majority of people perceive those who “hear voices” as being unstable and dangerous, and even believe that they should be locked away. Source: manoramaonline (India), 4th January 2017

 

 

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