“Hearing Voices: tracing the borders of normality”


Rhianna Goozee discusses the development of the Hearing Voices Movement in The Lancet Psychiatry, and how research has blurred the lines between “healthy” and “normal” minds. She then explores the possibility that early intervention, and early pathologizing of such experiences, may push young people towards rather than away from developing psychosis.

Goozee, Rhianna. “Hearing Voices: Tracing the Borders of Normality.” The Lancet Psychiatry 2, no. 3 (n.d.): 206–7. Accessed March 2, 2015. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00066-8. (Full text)


  1. Generally telling people that their emotional and cognitive problems are immutable disabilities (I’ve seen the same effect not only with “mental illness” but also with IQ testing) disincentives people from trying. It’s a message of: “it never get better, it will likely get worse, you have to accept you’ll never amount to anything and be grateful we even want to deal with you.” Many people, instead of fighting their way true sit back and go into a cycle of “I can’t do it, I have a disability, my disability prevents me from doing anything, everything is too hard, why even try if my disability is going to make me fail” and so on. It drives me insane but I see it all over the place on social media. People often “self-diagnose” (thank you pharma PR anti-stigma and “educational” campaigns), then go to a shrink and get an official label (like anyone ever goes out of there being told: “no, you’re just a normal human being with life problems”) and come back crying to social media “how do I deal with the fact that I’m chronically mentally ill?” followed by “Can I have children?”, “Can I ever have a normal relationship?” “Should I try to study/get a job?”. It makes me want to scream. And if you tell these people that they should stop seeing themselves as disabled you’re “stigmatizing them”. Wow…

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    • Well said. I think this particular psychological impact can be far more damaging in the end than the drugs themselves. It is a message of disempowerment and disability, and it is almost never an accurate evaluation of the reality that faces the person in question. Telling people they can’t do anything about their issues is always a very bad idea.

      — Steve

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  2. “Does this mean that those who hear voices are never in need of psychiatric support or treatment? Dr Cohen suggests that it is not necessarily about the point at which hearing voices becomes a disorder worthy of a psychiatric label, but rather the point at which people are so distressed that they need support. She added, “equally though medication is not always the wrong answer.” In some cases, medication can help people to cope with extreme experiences in a helpful way, whatever the assumed cause. Of course, as both a mental health professional and part of the Hearing Voices Network, Dr Cohen might differ from other members of the network, some of whom would reject medication as a solution altogether.”….<— That's the next-to-last paragraph of the article…. Note the deliberately deceptive sentence construction:…"….drugs are not always the WRONG answer." So, they ARE sometimes the wrong answer! And, "some….would reject medication (read: "DRUGS") altogether."

    I used to hear voices, but I trained myself to become mentally DEAF…..lol….

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  3. I found the antipsychotics caused me to hear “voices.” I had the “voices” of the people who raped my child in my head the entire time I was forced to take antipsychotics. They bragged incessantly about raping my child. Some decent nurses did eventually hand over my child’s medical records with the medical evidence of the child abuse. And I got away from the child molestation covering up doctors.

    I understand my situation is fairly common. And after ten years of research, my theory is the most common cause of schizophrenia is doctors wanting to profit off of covering up child abuse, rather than properly dealing with this type crime. So they misdiagnose child abuse victims with psychosis, resulting in an inappropriate neuroleptic prescription. Then further misdiagnose the adverse effects of the neuroleptics as schizophrenia, or in my case bipolar.

    The neuroleptics actually cause both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, via both the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome and neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.

    “neuroleptics … may result in … the anticholinergic intoxication syndrome … Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

    “Neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome is principally characterized by the same symptoms that constitute the negative symptoms of schizophrenia—emotional blunting, apathy, hypobulia, difficulty in thinking, difficulty or total inability in concentrating, attention deficits, and desocialization. This can easily lead to misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Instead of decreasing the antipsychotic, the doctor may increase their dose to try to ‘improve’ what he perceives to be negative symptoms of schizophrenia, rather than antipsychotic side effects.”

    John Read’s research proves the most common trait of all schizophrenics is child abuse or adverse childhood experiences. And the “gold standard” treatment for schizophrenia does, indeed, cause the symptoms of schizophrenia.

    I really hope the medical community gets out of the business of covering up child abuse some day. And we start putting these criminals in jail instead. And how sick is the psychiatric community for propagandizing that these child abuse victims, then psychiatric abuse victims, are dangerous. Talk about adding insult to injury. Shame on the psychiatric community, whose actual primary function within humanity, is turning child abuse victims into schizophrenics with their antipsychotics.

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