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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Auditory Hallucinations and Anxiety

06/20/2006

Question:

Hi Dr, I`m sorry if I`m posting this question in the wrong place but I didn`t really know where else to put it. I`m 17 I have OCD and PTSD, I think I suffer from auditory hallucinations too. I havent` told my phsychiatrist because I`m scared he will lock me up or wont believe me and think I`m stupid. I think this even thought I get on well with him and trust him, so I do feel a little guilty about thast. i know yu can`t make a diagnosis on here, but please could you tell me if you think auditory hallucinations are a possibility? My; "voice" is very deep and growling, I`m scared of him - he`s and older man. He normally just shouts my name and sometimes he tells me to do bad things like burn things or kill a mouse - I have never done one of these. However, I am scared that if I don`t he will kill my family and so I`m really confused and distressed, I want it to go away. I never used to think I was hallucinating untill I realised he was the only person alking or there was no one else in the room and the fact that I could never see him and I don`t even recognise his voice. This did take me a long time to believe thougt, I didn`t want to believe I might be hallucinating. This has been going on for a few months. I`m scared of this voice and normally it happens when I`m on my own or maybe in a crowd and sometimes when it`s very quiet, kind of like when there is white noise. Thank you very much for your time, I hope that I managed to make some sense :)

Answer:

Auditory hallucinations occur usually in the context of anxiety symptoms generally worsening.  I have had cases of both OCD and PTSD where auditory hallucinations were prominent, and almost always this symptom was more or less a marker of general severity.  The good news is that mental health professionals know how to treat auditory hallucinations very effectively.  I understand your reluctance to confide to your physician given the fact that the media have played up this particular type of symptom but your physician cannot address the problem unless you bring it up.  I realize that this is scary for you but the thought of not dealing with it is probably scarier. 

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati