'Hearing voices' is more common than you'd think

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If the presence of voices in your head has you a bit freaked out, not to worry (probably). You’re not crazy (necessarily). And you most likely aren’t the next Joan of Arc. Actually, auditory hallucinations are more common than previously thought, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.


The research, conducted by Durham and Stanford universities, is one of the most comprehensive studies on the subject to date. Along with revealing that hearing voices doesn't always speak to psychiatric illness, the study is packed with interesting findings. Here are some of the most compelling:

* Around 5 to 15 percent of adults experience auditory hallucinations at least once in their lives.


* Most people who hear voices hear multiple, very distinct voices—like an assortment of characters.

* The voices in your head are not created equal! Forty-five percent of the 153 participants reported voices with a range of characteristics, from acoustic to "thought-like."

* Sixty-six percent of respondents reported experiencing bodily sensations while hearing voices. The voices associated with these sensations were more likely to be violent and sometimes linked to previous trauma.

* Hearing voices gets a bad rep and is often associated with fear, anxiety, and stress, but nearly a third of respondents said they also associated the voices with positive emotions.


* Understanding the range of experiences with auditory hallucinations can help researchers develop more targeted forms of treatment and therapy.

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