Approaches to help Control Hallucinations in Schizophrenia
The following message was posted by a consumer (who reports on whether the techniques worked for him) would make a great consumer column:
"Sensory Deception" from Johns Hopkins press discusses several methods to control hallucinations, including focusing on them instead of trying to ignore them. This may be as simple as saying the word "Stop" until the hallucination goes away. Some of the things that patients do to cope is engaging the hallucinations and taking the hallucinations advice. The book also recommends taking personal responsibility for the hallucinations instead of attributing them to an outside source) and counter-stimulation (reading something outloud). Following is a paraphrase of some of the techniques from the book:: "Sensory Deception: A scientific analysis of hallucination" from Johns Hopkins University Press, authors Peter Slade and Richard Bentall. Psychological Treatment Approaches:
Operant procedures - Conditioning Use of timeouts for hallucinatory behavior
Thought stopping - Raise finger every time you hallucinate and say stop until the hallucination stops.
Reduction in sensory input Conflicting results
Counter-stimulation use of headphones reading out loud humming and gargling
Self-monitoring record occurences of hallucinations rate frequence of hallucinations signal occurence, duration and termination of hallucination with a button imagine a vivid nauseous scene when experiencing hallucination take a written record of voices and rate their 'demandingness' retrospective monitoring has no effect
Aversion therapy shock or white noise self-administered during a hallucination (works somewhat, sometimes nature of voices changes)
Earplug therapy use of an earplug in one ear (no dramatic impact on hallucinations)
First-person-singular therapy voices are really talking to myself (worked for two patients) bring on and dismiss hallucinations + counter-stimulation worked for 1 out of 5 subjects p199
A careful examination of the data outlined above suggests that there success might be explicable in terms of three processes, namely:
(a) focusing; (b) anxiety reduction; and (c) distraction or counter-stimulation.
Focusing event recorder, contingent response, focus attention on voices. suggestion that avoiding attending to hallucinatory experiences may, in the long run, have the effect of maintaining them. Anxiety reduction systematic desensitization, try to decrease arousal.
Distraction or counter-stimulation Works in the short term, but may allow person to come up with other strategies.