Voice Hearing Often Linked to Violence in News Media

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When discussing voice hearing, news media most often link the phenomenon to “criminal behavior, violence, and suicidality,” according to a study in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. “The majority of articles examined contained no suggestion that [auditory verbal hallucinations] are possible in psychologically healthy individuals,” concluded author and Felician College psychologist Ruvanee Vilhauer.

“The results were sobering,” stated a Psychology Today post about the study when it was first published early online last year. “84% of the articles contained no suggestion that voice-hearing can be ‘normal’… Most of the articles (81.8%) connected voice-hearing to mental illness. In some cases, auditory verbal hallucinations were simply equated with insanity. Some articles linked voice-hearing to a tragic lack of control… Another common assumption was that hallucinations are frightening…”

Vilhauer, Ruvanee P. “Depictions of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in News Media.” International Journal of Social Psychiatry 61, no. 1 (February 1, 2015): 58–63. doi:10.1177/0020764014535757. (Abstract) (Full text on Academia.edu)

The Voices Within (Psychology Today, June 8, 2014)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy, and social change. His articles have been nominated for seventeen magazine and journalism awards. His book Your Consent is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships will be released in January 2023, and can be pre-ordered through BenBella or major online booksellers. He can be contacted through his website.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This article does point out the stranglehold the psycho / pharmaceutical companies have over the mainstream media – since, of course, it is these industries that profit from this type of stigmatization, stereotyping, and propaganda.

    As a person who has experienced “voices,” I will tell a bit about my story. I first got “voices” after being put on an “antipsychotic” drug cocktail, given to “cure” the known ADRs and withdrawal symptoms of a “safe smoking cessation med.” I got three evil “voices,” ironically the “voices” of my real life enemies, pumped into my head with the psych drugs. Thankfully, the evil “voices” went away after I was weaned off the psych drugs. But this does mean that at least a percentage of the population gets “voices” from the “antipsychotics,” and I’m quite certain the psychiatric practitioners still need to learn this.

    Oh, I did get “voices” one other day. It was no doubt due to withdrawal from a “snowing” (drugging a person until only the whites of their eyes show – one of the docs who did this to me has now been arrested by the FBI for doing this to lots of patients for profit).

    I got the “voices” of “everyone” in my head. It was really obnoxious. I had to tell the “voices” that I could not function that way, and they were only allowed to speak when all wanted to say the exact same thing at the exact same time. I haven’t heard from them since, unless you consider an “inner voice” of common sense, “voices.”

    I have learned from reading my medical records that the psychiatric practitioners apparently believe common sense, gut instincts, thoughts, and dreams are all “voices.” I disagree, these are normal things all people do, or should be blessed with. And it is the psych drugs that take away inner peace and induce incessant and obnoxious “voices.”

  2. “84% of the articles contained no suggestion that voice-hearing can be ‘normal’… Most of the articles (81.8%) connected voice-hearing to mental illness. In some cases, auditory verbal hallucinations were simply equated with insanity. Some articles linked voice-hearing to a tragic lack of control… Another common assumption was that hallucinations are frightening…”

    Hmmm, could it be that many are in pure denial of their ‘inner voices?’ That’s fertile ground for negative projections, stigma, and discrimination–such as what is occurring in the mental health field. I agree with Someone Else, common sense, instincts, etc. have fallen by the wayside due to this madness of creating pathology from the most natural and healthy of occurrences in life, which to my mind, are fueled by mass denial in the field. I would include ‘creativity’ in this assessment, as well. And, I think it’s painfully obvious.