Self-Help Tips for Those Who Hear Voices

Taken from the National Empowerment Center Web site:

    • Some research suggests that if you put a rubber band around your wrist

and snap it each time the distressing voices start, they will decrease in intensity and/or frequency.

    • Some people have found it particularly helpful to use “I statements”.

For instance, if a voice begins to tell me I am a whore, worthless, no good, etc. I can say out loud, “Right now I feel worthless, I feel like I am not good, I feel I am a whore”, etc. This is very different than saying “the voices say I’m no good, a whore, worthless” etc. In this strategy I say what I am hearing and own it as my thought and when I do this the voices don’t have to keep reminding me of it and they quiet down.

    • Keep a record.

Some people have found it helpful to keep a record of the time, place, day and what they were doing just before the voices start up. By keeping a record for a few weeks you may begin to see a pattern. For instance you may begin to notice that your voices start up after visits to your family, after being in crowds, just before work, only when you use alcohol, etc. Once you notice a pattern you can avoid those situations and thereby eliminate the voices related to those situations.

    • Try some music

. Research has shown that for some people using a Walkman™ and listening to your favorite music can help diminish the intensity of voices. Interestingly, it’s not that loud volume “drowns out the voices”. Rather, what seems important is that your attention is focused on music you like. Thus, if you really like Metallica but only have a Brahms concerto to play on your walkman, no matter how loud you listen to Brahms it probably won’t diminish your voices. So make sure you are listening to music that engages your attention and that you really like!

    • Don’t forget that physical factors can effect the voice hearing experience.

For instance, some people find that they hear voices that are particularly distressing when they have a fever or when they are pre-menstrual. Others find voice hearing gets worse after using alcohol, street drugs or over-the-counter drugs such as caffeine, sugar, antihistamines (cold medicines that cause drowsiness, such as Contact, Drixoral), etc. Knowing your body’s reaction to fever, PMS, over-the-counter drugs, street drugs and other physical conditions can help you both predict when voices may be most distressing and help you eliminate these factors or at least be able to predict the length of time you will feel acutely distressed. For instance you could say “each time I drink alcohol my voices get worse, so I will stop drinking alcohol” or you might say “each time I am pre-menstrual my voices get worse so I know this will only last for several days and I will arrange for extra support from my friends each month during this time”.