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Explains what it is like to hear voices, where to go for help if you need it, and what others can do to support someone who is struggling with hearing voices.
The first place to go is normally your GP. They may refer you to a psychiatrist who may give you a diagnosis and treatment. Your GP or psychiatrist may see your voices as a result of an illness and prescribe medication and other treatment.
Your GP should always check to that there are no physical reasons why you are hearing voices before you are prescribed medication or referred to a psychiatrist. For example, they should check:
Different doctors may have different approaches. Our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem have information on how to make sure your voice is heard, and what you can do if you're not happy with your doctor.
You might find getting a diagnosis is a positive experience because:
However, you may find this sort of support more challenging because:
There are different types of talking therapies but they are all designed to give you space to explore difficult feelings and experiences with a trained professional.
See our pages on talking therapies for more information on how they work and how to access them.
A psychotherapist may be able to help you:
See our pages on talking therapies for more information.
Can help you deal with how the voices make you feel and think about yourself without always going into the underlying reasons for them. CBT may help you:
See our pages on CBT for more information.
You may be offered a type of CBT for psychosis called CBTp - although this is not usually used to treat hearing voices specifically. CBTp helps you to think about the beliefs you have about your voices and how these beliefs affect your experience of hearing voices.
MBCT is a type of therapy that combines mindfulness and CBT. It may help you:
See our pages on mindfulness for more information.
"Talking therapies work well for me and are essential for improving my coping mechanisms."
If your voices are very troubling and you have been referred to a psychiatrist, they are likely to prescribe an antipsychotic drug. These drugs may:
Medication may be something you need only in the short term, allowing you to learn other ways of coping with the voices so that you then no longer need drugs.
See our pages on antipsychotics for general information about this type of medication, and details about specific drugs.
Watch David talk about his experience of getting help for hearing voices.
This information was published in October 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.