Re: "These extremists do help the SMALL minority of people whose only symptoms are eccentricity and benevolent voices."
INTERVOICE, the international organisation for the advocacy of people hearing voices. There are now hearing networks and support groups active in twenty-one countries. An increasing number of researchers, practitioners, people hearing voices and family members have adopted our approach to voices with great success.
We understand "voices" to be real and meaningful, something experienced by a significant minority of people, including many who have no problems living with their voices. Our research shows that to hear voices is not the consequence of a diseased brain, but more akin to a variation in human behaviour, like being left-handed. It is not so much the voices that are the problem, but the difficulties that some people have in coping with them.
Whilst one in three people who hear voices become a psychiatric patient - two in three people can cope well and are in no need of psychiatric care. No diagnosis can be given because these 2 out of 3 people who hear voices are quite healthy and function well. It is very significant that in our society there are more people who hear voices who have never been psychiatric patients than there are people who hear voices and become psychiatric patients.
In research concerning people who hear voices it was found that 77% of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia the hearing of voices was related to traumatic experiences. Many people who hear challenging voices have found that a turning point in learning to cope with this experience has been finding different ways of talking with and understanding their voices. Learning to understand the motives of your voices and different ways of talking with them can help the relationship to change between the voice hearer and the voices.
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