Patients' strategies for coping with auditory hallucinations

Dorothy M. Carter, Andrew Mackinnon, David L. Copolov

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Many patients with psychotic disorders experience persistent auditory hallucinations despite rigorous pharmacological treatment. The experience of auditory hallucinations can heighten anxiety and depression. The high risk of suicide among patients experiencing auditory hallucinations is well. recognized. Research in this area has been restricted to small samples or has collected information only on the use of such strategies without investigating their efficacy. The Mental Health Research Institute Unusual Perceptions Schedule incorporates a module focusing oncoping strategies. This schedule was administered to 100 subjects, with the aim of investigating the relationship between strategy use and effectiveness, as well as the characteristics of subjects and their disorders. Eighty-one percent of the subjects were worried or upset by their hallucinations. The majority (66%) of the subjects reported they had ways of managing the voices, and 69% of them described at least some success using one or more strategies. There was a striking lack of correspondence between the number of subjects using a method and its rated efficacy. No relationship was found between length of illness and number of strategies used. Multidimensional scaling of use and efficacy data revealed three groups of strategies. These groups do not correspond to previous classifications made on the basis of features of the strategies themselves. The pattern of results also suggests that training methods might be used to increase the options for patients troubled by auditory hallucinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

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