Should All The Voices Go Completely Away?

Question

Asked by Mom on the edge

Should All The Voices Go Completely Away?

Do all the voices need to disappear? My son has had hallucinations off and on for two years. He is under the care of a P-doc & a therapist (both very good). He is extremely sensitive to antipsychotic meds. His current dose allows him to live a semi-typical life, but there are still some voices. They usually arise during times of stress, etc. Is this the best we can hope for?

Answer

Hello,

In the end, the goal is functionality: the goal is for your son, the goal is for me, the goal is for anyone with SZ, to be able to function in the world and be self-reliant and able to stand on our own two feet and ideally have a job, our own home, and be in relationships with friends and possibly lovers.

To have as normal a life as possible. Which can happen even with occasional, breakthrough or residual symptoms.

The goal is to have a life worth living, not to live life on the sidelines.

In the words of my own psychiatrist talking about my treatment, "The only acceptable outcome is total symptom relief." The therapist I saw at that time (about six years ago) thought this was impossible.

What do I think? The goal should be total symptom relief, as in, ideally, no symptoms. However, if symptoms persist, I would recommend some sessions of cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, and the proactive use of coping techniques at the time the voices do flare up. Which is why I recommend CBT as an adjunct to treatment: so that the client can halt a worsening of the symptoms by taking action as soon as they start.

I might also recommend your son take the NAMI Peer-to-Peer education course to create a relapse prevention plan and psychiatric advance directive. Ring NAMI at (800) 950-NAMI (6264) to find the local chapter in your city or town in the U.S. that hosts Peer-to-Peer, if one does. I taught this class twice and I can vouch for its effectiveness. It runs nine weeks and is for people diagnosed with MIs.

A guy who is a community member here has heard voices for 30 years and managed, recently, to push them away so that they are less severe and less frequent.

If your son's voices appear in response to stress, I would suggest he learn stress management techniques. I might also recommend he engage in a consistent fitness routine, some kind of exercise.

I would also recommend he create a Wellness Recovery Action Plan, commonly called a WRAP.

To close out:

I know someone who heard voices, the Zyprexa didn't take them away, and he didn't give up and his parents took him to different doctors until they found a great psychiatrist who prescribed another drug and voila-the guy no longer hears voices.

The goal should be no voices yet if that is not possible, the goal becomes the best possible symptom management via coping techniques, action plans, and the most effective drug or drugs to create minimal symptoms and minimal effect from the symptoms instead of being ravaged by the symptoms.

A person shouldn't have to settle for less, he or she should aim for the best possible outcome. I can't though tell you what to do, rather, it's certainly within your right and your son's right to ask his psychiatrist the same question you asked me. If you're satisified with the pdoc's answer, fine. If you want a second opinion, that's your right too.

So in the end, ask the psychiatrist what he thinks is possible too.

Regards,

Christina

Answered by Christina Bruni