Friday, June 25, 2010

Hearing Voices


Our son has been hearing voices.

It doesn’t happen a lot, just every so often.

He hears someone calling his name. He tells us that it sounds like a little girl, not someone he knows, just a voice of a young girl. Sometimes, it sounds like an echo in his brain, like someone is screaming his name in the distance.

More than once, he’s come to me asking “What Mom?”

I’ll say “Nothing, what’s up?”

He’ll respond that he was getting ready for his bath when he heard his name being called by a girl. You can see in his response that he was so certain that his name was being called. Sometimes, he’s alone in a quiet place and will hear the echo in his brain calling his name, other times he’s playing along side his brothers.

We aren’t sure what to think of this. Our therapist is keeping an eye on it by having us chart it every time it occurs. Right now, the therapist wants to have our son determine if he’s hearing it outside his head or inside his head and I think it’s safe to say, after observing this past month, that it’s inside his head only.

We’re not concerned that this is a form of schizophrenia. Through my research, I’ve read that bipolar kids sometimes hear voices when they’re manic. I’ve also read that kids can hear voices from their medication. I know our own son had visual hallucinations when he was taking Seroquel, so this fact doesn’t surprise me.

As much as this is a mystery to us, one thing I do know is that my son would like the voices to stop. Recently, he asked if we could pray for him so the voices would go away. I can only imagine how unsettling this must be for a young child. As his parent, I try and reassure him that it’s just his brain playing tricks on him, that he doesn’t have to be scared of it and that he shouldn’t be embarrased by it. I tell him that it’s just like any other illness, it’s just another symptom that we hope to make disappear. Along with our prayers, I hope this is enough to help him deal with this disturbing experience.

As parents, we sometimes use our past experiences to guide us when raising our children. But with my son’s illness, I sometimes feel ill equipped to help him. I’ve never dealt with any of this before, I can only imagine what feelings he must struggle with inside. I can only guess what words can comfort him. I only hope that it’s enough, that I can give him the love, support, understanding and compassion that he needs. In the end, I hope that I can give him enough.


23 comments:

  1. My son heard voices when manic and was thirteen before he realized that everybody else didn't here them. My 7 year old saw snakes everywhere at the height of a mania. This is a scary part of Bipolar.

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  2. This is not something we have encountered yet. But I can only imagine how scary it must be!

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  3. Bipolar kids don't have to be manic to hear things or have hallucinations of any kind. It can come from depression as well or can just be a part of their disorder. That is one reason why so many take an anti-psychotic in addition to a mood stabilizer.

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  4. You are giving him all of you and that IS enough! Keep up the wonderful love and compassion that you give him and trust your intuition and you will know what he needs.

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  5. You are doing great mama bear. His concept of what is going on is wonderful. And He know he can come to you whenever he needs to or has questions. Your honesty with this is a plus in his life. Also, check to make sure your house isn't over an old burial ground! :)

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  6. LOL! Actually, the day we moved in I realized our mailbox was #13, isn't that bad luck? Ever since we moved into our new home about 4 years ago we’ve faced more than one unexpected major life challenge, it makes you wonder.... but as for old burial grounds, I think our land was a former farm, nothing exciting.

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  7. It was very nice blog and got lots of information .Thanks

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  8. mama bear, what meds is your son taking? my son is 10,has several diagnoses (MD not sure which ones are true diagnoses--still working on it). He has 99% of your son's symptoms. My son is a bit overweight to begin with. He eats due to his anxiety. I don't want a med to add weight gain as a side effect.

    Worried mom

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  9. Worried Mom- Right now my son is taking Tenex, this helps with is impulses. He is also taking Trileptal, this has made his moods more stable and his night terrors are gone. Trileptal also helped a lot with his anxieties almost immediately. We just added Melatonin at night time to help him fall asleep better.

    Things are much better, not perfect. We may have to add another med in the future, but we are taking that step slow.

    As for weight gain, we haven't had any weight gain issues. But every kid is different and these may or may not work for your son. Talk to your doctor and see what he says.

    Good Luck!

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  10. My son is ten and very well behaved always trying to please others type of personality. This morning he casually said to me that he hears voices. Of course I dropped everything and probed and questioned him till I was blue in the face. (I know I dealt with this the wrong way, but I was shocked!)

    He said that the voices don't talk to him but they are there when he thinks he has hurt his sister he said that he hears the voice more at that point.

    In the past he has dealt with a bout of anxiety but this phase seems to be more pronounced. His sleep is at best restless and often he is so upset that he can't fall asleep that he cries.

    I know that my father is an undiagnosed bipolar individual. All my life he demonstrated manic phases so now I am thinking that my son is following in his footsteps.

    Thank you for this blog spot I will visit it often.

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  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your son. I can relate to how shocking it is to have your child share that they hear voices, what is even more disturbing is how my son’s therapist would blow it off, saying that it’s rare and not to give it any thought.

    I can’t imagine what it must be like for our kids to face such scary stuff. They are really brave!

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  12. hi guys im experiencing the same difficulties with my child. we had a previous diagnosis of adhd. a new consultant has recently diagnosed bi polar.im heartbroken and scared. she hears voices. i neva look shocked when she tells me.why us ?????

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  13. Anonymous- Hi! Welcome to my blog. You are not alone, it is disturbing to see your child hear voices. I hope that now that you have a more clear diagnosis, you'll see better treatment and your child will become more stable. I know for us that the mood stabilizer really helped with the voices once we got to the full dose. Hang in there, it takes a while to get there.

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  14. what drugs do they give for mood stabiliser? currently up 1mg resperidone twice a day.
    she saw angels yday and music notes floating in the air? is this typical of bi polar. does any1 know?
    im just sooooo concerned....

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  15. My son is taking Trileptal for a mood stabilizer. There are many different options. I’ve heard of other kids with a bipolar diagnosis seeing things. If you don't already have it, get the book "The Bipolar Child", it goes over all mood stabilizers with details and also talks about kids seeing things.

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  16. Wow. Just googled "why is my young child hearing voices?" and this mood disorder posting came up. My son has just turned 10, and he has told me for some time now that he hears someone call his name. It is a womans voice...he tells me it sounds like mine. A few times a week he will approach me and say "what? Mom...you called my name?" He understandably becomes upset when I tell him I did not. Will research mood disorders. Thank you!

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  17. Anonymous- oh that must be scary for your son, I'm glad you found this post and I hope you find some answers for your son. In the meantime, it has always helped my son when I remind him in a non-chalant way that "it's just your brain making mistakes" I try and make it no big deal so it doesn't increase his anxiety about it. I hope he gets relief soon.

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  18. My daughter is 7. Has been in and out of the children psychiatric hospital here, harmed herself, her 3 year old brother, heard voices, seen snakes before, but only once, and has started to spiral out of control w anger and aggression. The children psych hospital here will no longer take her, she's on her 2nd psychiatrist, 3Rd psychologist, and now her school (magnet program with no special Ed department or assistance, is informing us that this will be her last year at the school. It seems no matter what we do to help, things get worse. I don't know how to help anymore. Any advice? She's on concerta for add/adhd, a mood stabilizer, risperidone for the bipolar, and clonidine to help keep her calm durimg the day/sleep at night.

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    1. Wow, it sounds like things are pretty tough right now for your family. I’m surprised that the services to help her are no longer able to her, that's appalling! I personally don't have any wisdom in this area, but thought I would refer you to The Balanced Mind Foundation. They have a forum under “connect” where you can ask such questions and parents with similar experiences can give feedback. As for this blog, if anyone here can help, please do!

      http://www.thebalancedmind.org/

      Just don't give up, keep searching. Change doctors if you aren't happy with the care. We’ve had some bad doctors and some great ones. I don't know if you have her in therapy, but this may be helpful for you and your daughter to help manage the anger and aggression. We're currently doing this weekly. I wish we had pursued therapy more in depth in that past but or HMO didn't allow it weekly. I'm finding that once the patterns of anger and aggression set in, even when your child gets stable, they will still act aggressively at times since that becomes their natural response. The quicker you can get this under better control, the better outcome you'll have.

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  19. My 6yo has been hearing voices that tell him to do bad things and hurt people. He went from being a sweet little boy to violent and aggressive. He's told me that they call him bad things and want him to kill me and hurt himself.. but that he would be sad if I died.. doctors don't seem very concerned. I'm worried to death for his sake. He talks to these voices.. They talk to each other in his head. I've had to put away all sharp objects in my house for his safety after he shredded his bed sheets in the middle of the night. He tried to choke his older sister on the school bus. Out of the blue he just turned to her and put his hands on her neck and started choking her. When asked why he said "they told me to do it" If I don't listen they will hurt me" he's afraid of these voices and tends to cry himself to sleep at night. I try to comfort him but it always turns into him telling me he doesn't want to kill me because he loves me and would be sad. He does a lot of pacing and ranting as well. Im so worried and scared and I know he is as well.

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    1. Oh my goodness! This sounds horrifying. All I can say is that you should be concerned. Concerned enough to get second opinions. I would definitely seek out a psychiatrist for an evaluation, if you already have one, get a second opinion. The fact that he is hearing voices telling him to do wrong is exactly what our psychiatrist warned us about. They aren't concerned if the voices are benign, but if the voices tell him to harm others, it's a red glad and should be followed through with. I’m sorry you haven't gotten good care at the point. Is he already being treated for an illness at this point, or do they think the voices are just normal kid behavior?

      The fact that he is acting on the voices commands is proof enough that he needs help. I hope you get it soon, keep searching until you find a doctor whose opinion you trust.

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  20. Many people including children hear things without being sick. There is actually a hearing voices network online dedicated to people with no other issues. Psychotherapy and meditation. Writing things down and reviewing them. This can happen without medication or any kind of psychotic episode. Even minor stress can sometimes cause misfiring in the brian causing "memories" of specific things to be replayed. Like hearing your name called. Its very common for children to associate the voice to thier mother or father. Or here's a guess maybe it is actually something talking to him. Sensitive, empathetic and or psychic children sometimes are confused as having a mental health issue. Teaching simple gounding skills in those cases can be a life saver. Ever wonder why its not a problem if he hears good voices only bad? If the problem was hearing them it would all be considered a problem. It is disturbing to the kids at times however, describing it as something is wrong with him. In reality, over 70% of the population hear the same things. Look into these things. Dont just take someones advice just because they are a doctor. Its scary how many of them know nothing more than what has been taught for the last 50 years. I would think they would incorporate thier own findings on thier education. Someday maybe. When they are forced to change. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback. I think that your comment that a lot of people hear voices is valid. I think in our circumstance, it is in combination with a lot of other symptoms: depression, anxiety, social challenges, rages, ODD, OCD, mood dysregulation, seeing things that are not there. etc. In combination, the symptoms, along with the voices paint a different picture than a healthy person who only hears voices. It’s important to be in tune with these experiences to appropriately help the individual. In our case, our child.

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