Skip Spence 1946 1999
Musician and Singer Songwriter
Age of Diagnosis: 23
Individual History: Alexander Lee Skip Spence was a Canadian-born American musician and singer-songwriter. He began his career as a guitarist in an early line-up of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and was the drummer on Jefferson Airplanes debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. He was one of the co-founders of Moby Grape, and played guitar with the group until 1969. He released one solo album, Oar, and then withdrew from the music industry. His career was plagued by drug addiction and mental health problems. In the late 1960s, Spence became delusional after taking too much acid. He was found marching around his hotel room with an axe, bashing down doors and claiming he was the anti-Christ. At that point he was taken to Bellvue Hospital where he was formally diagnosed as schizophrenic. Spence died in 1999 from lung cancer, two days before his 53rd birthday.
What Treatment Should The Nhs Offer Me
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend that you should be offered antipsychotic medication and talking therapy if you hear voices. If you decide not to take medication you should still be offered talking therapy.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at www.nice.org.uk.
Your GP may refer you to a specialist mental health team such as the early intervention team , community mental health team , or crisis team.
Antipsychotic medication can help with hearing voices. Medication may not make symptoms go away but it can make voices seem distant or less noticeable. Try not to be too upset if the first antipsychotic that you try doesnt help. There are lots of different antipsychotics to try because people respond to different medications. You might need to try more than one before you find one that helps. The main negative with medication is that it can have bad side effects. A common side effect is weight gain.
There are different types of talking therapies recommended for people who hear voices.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT can help you to manage your voices and to notice any patterns. This can help you learn what is your trigger for the voices. And how to cope with them. For example, for some people stress can trigger voices. CBT can help you find ways to deal with your stress.
What is CBT?
CBT is a talking treatment.
CBT aims to:
If A Person With Schizophrenia Hears Voices Telling Them To Hurt Someone That Doesnt Mean They Will Do It
While people with schizophrenia may hear voices encouraging them to hurt themselves or someone else, research shows they arent more likely to be violent than anyone else.
Even if someone has delusions where they hear someone/something telling them to harm others, it doesnt mean theyll act on it. Sam C.
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Subvocal Speech And Schizophrenia
In the 50s, a psychiatrist named Louis Gould decided to investigate whether auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia are related to this phenomenon of subvocal speech. Using a technique called electromyography, or EMG, which measures muscle activation over time, he recorded the vocal muscle activity of a group of schizophrenic patients and a group of healthy patients.
When he compared the EMG recordings of schizophrenic patients while they were experiencing auditory hallucinations to those of non-hallucinating patients, he noticed greater vocal muscle activation at times when the patients were hearing voices. This would suggest that while the patients heard voices in their heads, they were simultaneously engaging in subvocal speech. Gould found that by pressing a microphone against the throat of one patient, he could actually hear the subvocal speech that the patient perceived as an external voice.
I Hear One Single Man Constantly Giving Me Ideas Of Death And Destruction
I hear one single man. Constantly giving me ideas of death and destruction. He has a very deep voice and is there more often than not. I hear shrill screams every night. As if my neighbor is getting stabbed or something. I used to ask my girlfriend if she heard it too when that first started. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and tell her he isnt here. I would stare around my room and house like Ive never been there before. I, would shake and become violent. The few times I get to be alone in my head is when I smoke pot. And when Im extremely happy.When Im in public or around family is when it is at its worst. Always telling me scenarios of killing them all, going on a complete rampage and killing myself. Im Told I am disgusting and a terrifying person by him. I feel like he is always just right there beside me telling me to kill every one. Kill them. Kill yourself. Hurt them. When there is death or a rampage on the news i hear you piece of shut, that could have been you. Tells me names of guns Ive never even heard of to kill with.It will never stop. This is my life.
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How To Help Someone Else Experiencing Symptoms Of Psychosis:
Often, family and friends help identify someone who is struggling with psychosis, and suffering from their symptoms, so theyre important to getting them in touch with professionals who can help.
Stressful life events, such as going off to college or breaking up with a significant other, can trigger psychosis. Further research is needed into why this is, but a low underlying stress tolerance level is often seen.
Its all right to mention to someone that youre worried about them, and open the door to discussing it at that point or later. You can find out if theres an early-psychosis clinic like U-Ms near you, and provide information or offer to contact them.
If you notice signs that theyre harming themselves, thats the time to seek immediate help, often by starting with contacting suicide hotline or nearby psychiatric emergency room for advice. People with psychosis have 10 to 15 times the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors than others.
Changes In Behaviour And Thoughts
A person’s behaviour may become more disorganised and unpredictable.
Some people describe their thoughts as being controlled by someone else, that their thoughts are not their own, or that thoughts have been planted in their mind by someone else.
Another feeling is that thoughts are disappearing, as though someone is removing them from their mind.
Some people feel their body is being taken over and someone else is directing their movements and actions.
When Hearing Voices Is A Good Thing
A new study suggests that schizophrenic people in more collectivist societies sometimes think their auditory hallucinations are helpful.
As a child, Joe Holt constantly thought he heard people hurling savage insults at him. When he would confront them, they would deny having said anything, enraging him further. Holt’s angry outbursts eventually cost him dozens of jobs and relationships. Years later, a diagnosis explained the years of pain and paranoia: Holt had schizophrenia.
Holt’s story, reported in a 2011 New York Times article, is typical of the way many Americans experience schizophrenia. Auditory hallucinations are one of the illness’s telltale signs. The imagined voices torment sufferers throughout the day, jeering them or nudging them toward violence.
But a new study suggests that the way schizophrenia sufferers experience those voices depends on their cultural context. Surprisingly, schizophrenic people from certain other countries don’t hear the same vicious, dark voices that Holt and other Americans do. Some of them, in fact, think their hallucinations are goodand sometimes even magical.
For the study, which was recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Luhrmann and her colleagues interviewed 60 adults diagnosed with schizophrenia20 each in San Mateo, California Accra, Ghana and Chennai, India. The patients were asked how many voices they heard, how often they heard them, and what the voices were like.
People With Schizophrenia Arent Inherently Dangerous
Perhaps the biggest misconception about schizophrenia is that people living with it are scary and a danger to others. However, studies have shown that people with schizophrenia are actually more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators.
It is wrong to think people with schizophrenia are dangerous. People with schizophrenia think differently so they need a chance to be understood. Heidi M.
People believe that schizophrenic people are dangerous and they confuse them with psychopaths. People assume that they are going to harm them and that they are somehow controlled by evilness! Which is far from the truth. Ermolia P.
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I Hear Random Muttering Of Syllables By What Seems To Be An Old Man
I hear random muttering of syllables by what seems to be an old man. Sometimes I notice myself moving my lips while it happens. I hear random conversations between 2-5 people. They speak about entirely random things and last for about 30 seconds. I hear random clicking and walking sounds, as if someone is around my computer and reading it it caused me to get up and check on the terminal more times than I can imagine. And then there are the voices that tell me to trust no one. They say everyone hate me, they fake everything in the interaction with me to get to me and hurt me even more. They tell me I hold absolutely no value to anyone, that I am a menace that has to be extinguished, that I need to die. They tell me everyone else is traitorous and that I need to kill or be killed. They tell me that the girl I love is the leader of all this, that she played this joke on me so that I will live the worst existence that can exist. They make me lash out against people, especially my parents. But my parents are part of this. They cant help me, they are part of the problem. Usually when those things happen I freeze.
I took 4 different drugs so far, and currently on 800 mg Seroquel/day. Its almost the maximal dosage, but the change it started has halted and has started to revert. I see a psychiatrist once a week and a psychologist twice. I dont trust either of them. I hate talking to them. The psychologist is one of them, and the psychiatrist pretends to understand.
Causes Of Auditory Hallucinations
Mental illness is one of the more common causes of auditory hallucinations, but there are a lot of other reasons, including:
- What are you hearing? Voices? Buzzing? Other sounds?
- When did it start?
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The Voices In My Mind Influenced My Behavior And Were Impossible To Tune Out
When I was in college, I befriended a young law student at a social event. At that time, because of the stigma, I was not disclosing my schizophrenia to anyone at the university.
During the social event, the topic of hearing voices came up, at random. My new friend was quick to offer her opinion. She stated that people who hear voices can choose whether or not to follow directives from the voices. Because there is a choice, people who hear voices are culpable for their actions. The bad decisions they make should have negative consequences, the same as with people who do not hear voices.
I did not want to explain to her that I had heard voices for years while struggling with schizophrenia, and that I did not agree. I remembered myself screaming back at my voices and walking to the right or left at their command. However, I kept my thoughts to myself. Here is what I wish I had shared with her:
The idea that the voices in your mind can simply be ignored is inconsistent with my personal experience. When I heard voices and had not yet begun medication, I always acted upon what I was hearing, even when commands were bizarre or wrong. I screamed back at the voices in public because the voices told me to. Essentially, I was unable to choose not to listen to my brain.
When I reached this stage of psychiatric stability, my doctors determined that I was ready to be released from the hospital and I began outpatient treatment.
Inner Vs Outer Voices
But why do schizophrenics believe subvocal speech is an external voice and most people recognize it as their own voice?
Whenever a person hears their own voice, it sets off a recognition circuit in the brain. This circuit works by comparing the sound you hear with the expected sound of your own voice if they match, your brain concludes that the voice was your own. If the heard voice doesnt match your brains prediction, you conclude that someone else is speaking.
Scientists believe that patients with schizophrenia have a defect in this circuit, so their brain incorrectly identifies a mismatch between their own voice and the voice they hear, making them think the voice belongs to someone else. But when they dont see anyone else speaking, they assume the voices come from inside their heads.
Schizophrenia Causes Positive Symptoms Symptoms Those Without Schizophrenia Usually Dont Have And Negative Symptoms The Absence Of Characteristics Usually Present In People Without Schizophrenia
When most people think of schizophrenia, they think of whats known as positive symptoms. This includes delusions, hearing voices, hallucinations, paranoia and distorted perceptions behaviors that arent present in healthy people. However, schizophrenia also includes negative symptoms, such as the inability to initiate plans and express emotions a lack of behaviors typically seen in healthy people.
Schizophrenia isnt just made up of positive symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions, but negative symptoms too such as lack of motivation and attention difficulties, which are just as hard to deal with. Joseph R.
Famous People With Schizophrenia
20 Famous People with Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic mental health disorder that affects the brain and behavior in about 1 percent of the general population. The diagnosis is a heritable trait that is passed down through DNA. Throughout history, this seriously debilitating disease has affected people of all walks of life. People with schizophrenia often report hearing voices, seeing things that are not really there and having delusional thoughts. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them or someone they love. Schizophrenics that do not receive treatment can become withdrawn or agitated as a result of their disease. In some cases, people with schizophrenia may not make sense and in some cases may even sit for hours without moving or talking . At other times people with schizophrenia may appear to be perfectly normal until they express their delusional thoughts.
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People With Schizophrenia Still Have Feelings Just Like Anyone Else
This should be obvious, but well say it anyway: People with schizophrenia can still feel happy, sad, anxious and get their feelings hurt, just like anyone else. They still have likes and dislikes, hobbies and passions and want to live a normal life. Its important that people see their loved ones as more than just schizophrenia.
Everyone thinks were violent people but were not. I wish they knew that we might be a little different than they are but were still people with feelings just like them who just want to be accepted. Roxanne B.
Synaptic Mediation And The Genetics Of Auditory Hallucinations
A series of ongoing studies in our laboratory is addressing the question of mediating mechanisms at the synaptic and genetic levels that may mediate the behavioral and brain structural and functional findings. We are currently working along the lines that a deficit in glutamate function may be instrumental in mediating the failure to show a REA in the DL test. It is known that schizophrenia patients show lower levels of glutamate and we are currently collecting data on glutamate concentrations in the left and right temporal lobe areas, in the peri-Sylvian region using MR spectroscopy, and to correlate the spectroscopy results with frequency of hallucinations and DL performance.
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How Caregivers And Loved Ones Can Help
It can be challenging and scary when you see your loved one struggling with auditory hallucinations. However, it is crucial not to lose hope. With the right course of treatment, your loved one can manage the severity and frequency of these voices.
Family therapy can also be a great way to learn more about auditory hallucinations and how you can better manage them when your loved one is going through psychosis. Empathy and understanding will help your loved one get the support they need. Going into treatment for schizophrenia will allow them to control their symptoms before they hurt themselves or others.
People with schizophrenia may find life challenging when they have voices in their heads telling them what to do or making them feel worthless. If these voices interfere with their daily lives, going into treatment to better control their frequency and severity may be the best option. At Alta Loma, we understand how intense the symptoms of schizophrenia can be, and we are here to help you. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with individualized therapy, medication management, coping skills, education, and more. Call us at to learn more.