Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hallucinations common in adolescence

6minutes, Australia - Dec 3, 2008

Full story here

Almost one in ten Aussie teens experiences hallucinations at some time but this doesn’t mean they’re more prone to psychosis or other mental illness, researchers say this week.

A national survey of more than 1200 adolescents aged 13-17 years old found that 8.4% reported either auditory or visual hallucinations such as hearing voices when they are alone or seeing things that other people think are not there.

The survey results, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research (online 29 Nov), showed that hallucinations were three times more common in children of single parent or divorced families and also more common in teens who used cannabis, but not in those who used alcohol. Hallucinations were also more likely to be reported by children with depression.

The study authors, from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane said that as in adults, hallucinations in teens could be a sign of previous psychological trauma. However, while hallucinations were frequent, they were part of a continuum and did not necessarily represent a risk of psychosis.

“Clearly most adolescents who experienced hallucinations in this study will not subsequently develop a psychotic disorder,” they noted.

Allen Ginsberg Vs. John Lofton

From HARPER’S MAGAZINE, January 1990, Readings

LOFTON: But I am interested in this question of your possible madness. It’s not a gratuitous question. There is a history of madness in your family.

GINSBERG: Very much so.

LOFTON: Your mom died in 1956 in a mental institution. Before that. in 1949, when you were twenty-three. you spent eight months in the Columbia Psychiatric Institute. What was this psychiatric disability and why did you spend just eight months in this institute?

GINSBERG: Well, I had a sort of visionary experience in which I heard William Blake’s voice. It was probably an auditory hallucination, but it was a very rich experience.

LOFTON: This happened while you were masturbating, right?

GINSBERG: Yes, but after.

LOFTON: I want to ask you about this psychiatric disability.

GINSBERG: No, no, no. no, no, no, no, no. Sir, first of all your tone is too aggressive. You have to soften your tone, because there’s an element of aggression here. There’s an element almost like a police interrogation here.

LOFTON: But that’s not all bad. The police, in some instances, do a good job, particularly in dealing with criminals.

LOFTON: That’s interesting, because I’m not asking you to respond in any particular way. Why are you telling me how to ask questions? So, can we return to my question? What was this psychiatric disability that put you in an institute for eight months?

GINSBERG: Well, I’m not sure it really was a disability to begin with. So I can’t answer the question the way you pose it.

LOFTON: But I’m asking you if it’s true, that you had this disability?

GINSBERG: It’s neither true nor not true.

LOFTON: But it is true that you were in an institute?

GINSBERG: Yes, I was. I had a kind of visionary experience relating to a text by William Blake, “The Sick Rose.” It went: “O rose, thou art sick! / The invisible worm / That flies in the night / In the howling storm, / Has found out thy bed / Of crimson joy, / And his dark secret love / Does thy life destroy.” So, it’s a very mysterious, interesting poem that keyed off a kind of religious experience, a visionary experience, a hallucinatory experience—whichever way you want to interpret it. All three descriptions are applicable and possible. Reality has many aspects.

LOFTON: Were you using drugs while you masturbated and had this experience?

GINSBERG: Not at all. I had been living very quietly, eating vegetarian diets, seeing very few people, and reading a great many religious texts: St. John of the Cross, the Bible, Plato’s Phaedrus , St. Teresa of Avila, and Blake, So I was In a kind of solitary, contemplative mood.

LOFTON: Did you put yourself into this institute?

GINSBERG: More or less. Because I questioned my own sense of reality and I couldn’t figure out the significance of the illuminative experience, whether it was a kind of traditional religious experience, where there is a sudden sense of vastness and ancientness and respect and devotional awareness or sacredness to the whole universe. Or whether this was a byproduct of some lack-love longing and projection of my own feelings, or some nutty breakthrough.

LOFTON: Do you think you were better when you got out of there?

GINSBERG: I think they said I wasn’t ever really psychotic or crazy, just an average neurotic.

LOFTON: Did you go to anywhere else besides this institute?

GINSBERG: Oh, later—I’m going to a psychiatrist now.

Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Why do people think negatively?

Mainichi Daily News, Japan - Dec 24, 2008

Full story here

"... When I am counseling my clients, sometimes I think the nature of human beings is negativity. Take auditory hallucination, a symptom of mental disorder, and which causes sufferers to hear voices or other noises generated unconsciously by their own minds -- so I wouldn't be surprised if they heard good things. However, most of these messages are bad things about themselves. I wonder why they don't hear compliments, such as "You're a genius" or "You're the most beautiful woman in the world." My guess is that it's probably because human beings are conditioned to think negatively."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The voices in your head...

All in the Mind Blog, ABC Radio

This weekend's show features a roundtable with 3 people pushing the boundaries on this front. Dr Rufus May, Dr Sandra Escher and Dr Dirk Corstens - all active in the international "hearing voices community" - were in Australia this week at the Recovery from Psychosis conference held in Perth. They argue that auditory hallucinations, like those experienced in schizophrenia, aren't a meaningless symptom. Instead, they advocate probing the content of those voices - the good, the bad and the frightening - and "dialoguing" with the voices to better manage them and understand their origins.

Their approach does polarize. Some fervently disagree with their therapeutic strategy arguing that it is irresponsible and even dangerous. Others with a personal experience of voices find it refreshing, and something of a relief to have the nuances of their inner world acknowledged. And, a large number of folk in mainstream medicine now also recognise the limitations of a purely medical model for working with matters of the mind. To ignore the contents of auditory hallucinations, is to ignore the full experience of the person presenting to them, and where does that get anyone?

Note: See the comments in response to blog - very interesting

The voices within...

All In The Mind, ABC Radio National, 8 November

Many people hear voices inside their head -- some are diagnosed with schizophrenia, others live privately with the experience. International leaders in the Hearing Voices Network gather in Australia this week, controversially challenging the belief that voices are a pathological symptom without psychological meaning. They argue people can find it therapeutic to 'dialogue' with the voices. Meet three clinicians pushing the boundaries.

Transcript here

Voices told him to kill

Jamaica Gleaner, 2 December 2008

Psychologist Dr Kai Morgan testified ... that she conducted tests on Perry on three occasions this year. She said Perry told her that since 2006, he had been hearing voices. She said the condition was known as auditory hallucination.

Morgan said Perry told her that he was not having the hallucinations in 2005 or prior to that time .... the children were fatally stabbed between January 27 and 28, 2005, at their home in Killancholly. Perry gave a caution statement to the police on February 8, 2005 in which he said voices told him to kill. In the statement, he admitted entering the house through a window. He said he stabbed the children, who were sleeping.

LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device)

Strategy Page, 7 December 2008

LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) is basically a focused beam of sound. Originally, it was designed to emit a very loud sound. Anyone whose head was touched by this beam, heard a painfully loud sound. Anyone standing next to them heard nothing.... LRAD can also broadcast speech for up to 300 meters. The navy planned to use LRAD to warn ships to get out of the way. This was needed in places like the crowded coastal waters of the northern Persian Gulf, where the navy patrols. Many small fishing and cargo boats ply these waters, and it's often hard to get the attention of the crews. With LRAD, you just aim it at a member of the crew, and have an interpreter "speak" to the sailor. It was noted that the guy on the receiving end was sometimes terrified, even after he realized it was that large American destroyer that was talking to him. This apparently gave the army guys some ideas, for there are now rumors in Iraq of a devilish American weapon that makes people believe they are hearing voices in their heads.

‘Voices from the Shore’

The Journal Times

December 1, 2008

The Park Theatre Department will present the drama “Voices from the Shore” by Max Bush

Joel and his best friend for many years, Lucas, are awaiting friends to attend a senior-year, spring-break, beach party. Joel seems abnormally tense as he and Lucas discuss their fears and hopes for the future. When Trisha, Holly, Rick, Laura, and Joel’s girlfriend, Beth, arrive, it’s clear that the friendship, dreams and concerns about the future after graduation are on the minds of everyone. Beth confronts Joel about their relationship; and as Joel’s anxiety level rises, we begin to understand that he is hearing voices. These voices insistently torment Joel resulting in him being admitted into an adolescent, acute-care psychiatric hospital. .... “Voices from the Shore” celebrates the anxieties, triumphs and glories of young adults struggling with understanding their changing dreams and with the responsibility for realizing them.

Teenager in death plunge ‘heard voices

Islington Tribune: 5 December 2008

Teenager in death plunge ‘heard voices in her head’A TEENAGER plagued by “voices in her head” fell to her death from a friend’s flat in Angel.... Ms Baker had attempted to swallow pain-killers in August and had tried to jump in front of a moving car and from another building.The inquest heard from her boyfriend that she had spoken of hearing voices in her head and that hospital mental health assessments increased in the week before her death.