concerned about his hearing voices


New Member
Oh boy. Seb was just about to get into the bathtub and he came to me and said: "I can't do it. I have a strange feeling. I just heard a voice tell me that if I got into the bath it would burn me and I would die". The words landed on me like a punch in the stomach.

Me: "What was the voice like?"
Seb: "It was my voice"
Me: "Have you heard your voice in your mind before?"
Seb: "All the time"
Me: "What does the voice tell you"
Seb: "Sometimes it tells me what to do"
Me: "I'm concerned about that"
Seb: "Don't worry! It's not like an evil voice. It's not like I am hearing the devil"

Last summer Seb's swimming teacher pulled me aside after practice one day to tell me that Seb told him, rather out of the blue: "Sometimes I hear voices". I asked Seb about it and at the time he just dismissed it as nothing at all. His swim teacher approached me with so much concern as if my son was from a horror movie.

I am not sure how concerned I should be. At the moment I'm freaking out. Is it possible that he's just listening to his heart, hearing his conscious or am I looking at yet another grim symptom?

I should add that he is taking Daypro now, but did not take it today or yesterday (no school). Could this be an effect of the Daypro even though it is allegedly out of his system. And then of course last summer he wasn't on any medication when he mentioned the voices to the swim coach.

I'm worried. What the heck do I do with this?


Active Member
Well......I would definitely call your psychiatrist and discuss this with him thoroughly. That being said, although this could be serious, it could also be stress related. It is a common, although not frequently talked about, side effect of intense stress to hear voices. I have heard them my entire life under intense pressure, even as young as his age, and I have no major pyschotic issues. The only part that concerns me about your story is that the voices are telling Seb to do things. That being said, they are not telling him to jump off a cliff, or hurt himself in some way, which would be a more classic sign of schizophrenia or psychosis. The voices seem to be his friend or ally, correct?

Hang in there....and try not to freak too badly. Call the psychiatrist first thing Tues., and just remember, the difficult child minds can do some stange things - their emotions and moods are scrambled and in chaos. It is not unheard of for them to have some outlandish mannerisms and quirks, none of which mean horrible things, just that they are a difficult child.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I agree it with Sequoia about calling your psychiatrist. He/she needs to be informed. Sending gentle hugs your way.


What is Daypro? Do you mean the Daytrana patch for ADHD?

If so, any stimulant can cause hallucinations; when the stimulant is stopped, the hallucinations generally go away. But it sounds as if Seb may have had hallucinations before trying Daytrana, and the stimulant is exacerbating the voices in his head. In any event, hallucinations are considered an emergency situation and need to be reported to the doctor ASAP.

Hugs to you.


I did a little poking around on the internet about auditory hallucinations. The websites I read said hallucinations are generally not in the voice of the person who hears them. We all hear our own thoughts as a voice within us. That may be what Seb is trying to tell you he hears. But in any event, I think you need to report what Seb told you to his prescribing doctor. His new medication could be having an unwanted side effect.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
You've gotten some great advice. I understand your worry, but I'd try not to freak out. I'd give the psychiatrist the lowdown and see what he says before panicing.



New Member
As others have stated, definitely notify his dr. a.s.a.p.

I am not familiar with the medication he is on.

I understand your "freaking out" I freaked out, but was careful not to show it, when my difficult child (9 at the time)was overly anxious about thoughts: "I'm WORRIED, God is in hell, I can see him in a ring of fire" WTH??? I was freaking, I had a brother who was schiz. "What makes you think this?" "My mind tells me" This is just one (of his strangest)"obsessions". After talking to him calmly, he was able to express pretty clearly that they were thoughts, in his case obsessions (my difficult child has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD))and not voices. Somone else mentioned that auditory hallucinations are usually not in their own voice. Just a thought, maybe your difficult child's anxiety is a result of obsessive "thinking" and not auditory hallucinations. My brother who was a paranoid schiz., did hear voices-and they were not his own.

Take care.


Active Member
It's definitely worth mentioning to psychiatrist but I wouldn't panic yet. it IS his voice and it could be his way of explaining his own strong anxieties. For example, someone asked me if I was planning on bungee jumping while in New Zealand. In my own mind I was telling myself, "If you try bungee jumping, you'll kill yourself."

difficult child 3's extreme anxiety often expresses an over-the-top fear as "I'll die if I do that." The combination of extreme anxiety plus obsessing about various things (especially fear) plus concentrating on his own thoughts could sound very much like this.

Interesting that he was trying to reassure you by indicating that he knows the difference between his own thoughts and voices that are not his.

Tell the psychiatrist, but I think it was just his way of telling you what he is afraid of, in rather melodramatic tones.



Former desparate mom
Calling the Dr. to figure out what is going on is a good thing. To try and sort through whether this is something to be concerned about or something that is just a peripheral issue is best made by those who have experience with it.
Self talk isn't uncommon in most people but if it's something that is telling him to harm himself or to command him to do things he wouldn't normally do then you have a worry.
Don't freak out. He seems safe enough but it's not a conversation with the psychiatrist that I would postpone.


New Member
smallworld said:
I did a little poking around on the internet about auditory hallucinations. The websites I read said hallucinations are generally not in the voice of the person who hears them. We all hear our own thoughts as a voice within us. That may be what Seb is trying to tell you he hears.

Smallworld, that is such a tremendous help. Of course I will speak with his MD asap. But beyond that I was trying to figure out what you articulated so well: is this a question of hearing ones thoughts or is it hallucinatory? Fine line...

Oh and yes, I meant to write Daytrana, not Daypro. It's so new to us I still haven't figured out what it is...


New Member
ROE said:
in his case obsessions (my difficult child has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD))and not voices. Somone else mentioned that auditory hallucinations are usually not in their own voice. Just a thought, maybe your difficult child's anxiety is a result of obsessive "thinking" and not auditory hallucinations.

It could be. Seb typically overthinks everything which very well could explain some of his anxiety. A friend of mine always uses the work "overthinking" to describe what Seb does.

I can imagine how terrifying it was for you to hear your difficult child talk about seeing God in a ring of fire. It's amazing that you didn't let fear and thoughts of your brother stand in the way of differentiating between seeing this as a thought rather than a hallucination. Like Seb, I am a bit of a drama queen and the slightest suggestion of mental illness makes me quiver in fear (having grown up with a seriously mentally ill and untreated mother).


Ella, one more thought: Any stimulant like Daytrana can exacerbate existing anxiety. If he was already anxious, Daytrana could be making things worse. Again, something to mention to the doctor.
I have read other posts that you have written about your son, and he sounds like an extraordinary child. To me, it sounds like, what everyone else considers thoughts in their head, HE considers his voice talking to him. He seems to have a heightened sense of awareness in many cases. Hopefully, it is something as simple as that.

I know you will call the psychiatrist, and update us. Hugs and prayers.


Well-Known Member
I've had auditory hallucinations due to side effects of drugs. They weren't in my voice nor did they tell me what to do. It is my understanding, although I'm not a doctor, that command hallucinations are a bit more serious and could indicate things like psychiatric illnesses. I have a diagnosis of bipolar II/generalized anxiety disorder/panic disorder/mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I've never heard any voices, even under stress, except when I had drug overdoses from my medications, and the voices at that time did not make a lot of sense to me. I don't think it's common to hallucinate under stress. I can tell you one thing: the thoughts inside your head adn hearing voices are obvious differences, not fine lines. You can easily tell your thoughts from auditory hallucinations. You don't HEAR your thoughts. They are not audible. You actually HEAR voices, just as if somebody is standing next to you and speaking to you. If they are scaring him, I'd get help ASAP. I've had scary thoughts, and I could tell the difference between them and auditory hallucinations. Hallucinations tend to get worse without treatment, but there is good treatment out there for them. Rather than guessing yourself or asking him questions (let the doctor do it), I'd just take him in and not coax him, as in, "Now are you sure you're not just hearing your own thoughts?" Let him be assessed.
It could very well be the stimulants.


Active Member
Just as a follow up to my comment that stress, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and anxiety can cause auditory hallucination I found this article.

Here is a quote regarding children:
The clinical presentation of the children in the present study indicates an association between hallucinations and high levels of stress and anxiety, suggesting that mental health professionals should enquire more routinely about auditory hallucinations, particularly with those children from abusive and violent backgrounds.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Hi I just saw your post and wanted to let you know that my difficult child 1 has had auditory hallucinations for quite awhile now. At first they freaked me out. But upon reading in most BiPolar (BP) books they are not uncommon in BiPolar (BP) kids. But it is still something that needs to be addressed and confirmed by a good psychiatrist. Our new psychiatrist doesn't quite get them...
I continually monitor difficult child 1 for how she is doing, she has "bad fairies and good fairies". The bad ones tell her she needs to die and she is fat, ugly, stupid... horrible things like that. They talk to her and come out when her mod tends to be more down or depressed. The nice fairies come and go. She basically has stated that these voices are there all the time, they are some times like a man, girl, boy. They vary... she also hears sounds in her head... she says sometimes there are multiple voices and they are doing things in her head, "tea parties" etc... Sometimes she wants them out, but most of the time she doesn't mind them.

After I confirmed with good psychiatrist in Chicago that this was all OK... I basically try to not bring it up unless she wants to talk about it. I tell her it is OK, but that it is something special for us and the Doctors, she doesn't need to tell other kids or her teachers. We try silly things to make the "bad" ones go away and it helps her for awhile...
WHen it gets bad I document it and call the doctor's...
I think it is serious, and until I can find another good psychiatrist I have to go with my gut, until we can get her stable... But I have read some cases of people that just have these things and live with them... they are OK.
Somekids also have them for quite some time before anyone ever realizes it. They either are afraid to talk about it or are just OK with their "friends".

But I agree with everyone else that you should rule out any other possibilities just in case!!!
Good luck


Well-Known Member
It's very common for kids not to tell parents about them, I was told by psychiatrist. They feel different and are afraid they won't be believed or, worse, they WILL be believed and everyone will think they are crazy, and maybe want to lock them up. I was told that hallucinations, not addressed, often start getting dangerous and that it is hard for the person to resist what the hallucinations tell them to do. "Command" hallucinations are usually a sign of a serious mental illness, but there ARE very good medications that can combat them these days. If the voice ridicules, "bosses", etc. it is not a good thing.
Sometimes the voices start out non-threatening and then start to turn "evil."
I've heard of a few people who just live with the voices. I was in a self-help group for people who live with mental illness.
Most of the people who heard voices took medications to get rid of them or at least "quiet" them down as they did not like them.
I know that one way my own psychiatrist diagnosis "voices" is if kids tend to talk to themselves when there is nobody there, acting as if somebody is actually talking to them. If a child is upset or scared enough to discuss it, I'd take it seriously or he may stop talking about it, even if it gets worse...take care.


New Member
My 14 year old just told her treatment team yesterday that she has an odd side effect from her medications.

She hears people saying different things than they actually say. She said this never happens when people aren't around, but if someone is talking to her and they might say, "Would you like some orange juice?", she thinks they said, "Would you like brownies for breakfast?" - when she replies to what she THINKS they said, confusion ensues and then she finds out about the misunderstanding. She said this has happened around ten times in the past few days.

She is currently in the state hospital awaiting placement at a PRTF.

Anyone else with this type of communication difficulty?

Her doctor said it COULD be a common side effect of one of her four medications OR of bipolar.


We recently had a second-opinion consultation with a child psychiatrist/researcher at NIMH in Bethesda, MD. His areas of special interest and expertise are childhood anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychopharmacology. He said there are three common bad reactions to SSRIs: impulsivity that occurs almost immediately and happens sporadically (related to dose and/or the medication chosen); hearing sounds or seeing things that aren't there (related to the medication and disappear when the medication is discontinued); and manic reactions that occur at about the 3-week mark and go on continuously (which need to be treated as if the patient has bipolar disorder).

I'm guessing that what you're reported is related to Lexapro (second guess would be Trazadone), but the only way you're going to know for sure is to wean your daughter from one medication at a time to see if the problem clears up.

One other thought: Anticonvulsants like Depakote and Lamictal can cause word-retrieval problems, but what you're reporting doesn't really sound as if that is the problem.