What Does It Mean To Hear Voices In Your Head?

Self-awareness or schizophrenia?

Everyone has voices in their head, but there is a difference between the internal dialogue everyone has and schizophrenia, a serious mental disorder that affects over 3 million Americans. The key difference between the two is how that internal voice is perceived.

A person who does not have schizophrenia can interpret that voice as coming from within themselves, giving no cause for concern. Someone with the disorder, however, interprets that inner voice as coming from an external source. 

That is, their inner voice is experienced as a hallucination.

While these hallucinations can be unsettling, the tone of the voices takes on the tone of whatever their current mental state is. While depression and anxiety are difficult enough to deal with on their own, it becomes even more of a burden when it seems like those negative thoughts are coming from an outside source. 


As AsapSCIENCE explains, schizophrenia is not the same as dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), which involves a person compartmentalizing their memories and conscious personality traits, typically in response to a traumatic experience. 

It's important to be factually correct when talking about schizophrenia because the condition is difficult enough without having the added obstacle of overcoming stigma built on misconceptions. 

Learn more about the condition here:

Cover image: Shutterstock


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