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13 Year Old Hearing Voices

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
My 13 year old nephew went to his dad last night crying, saying that he hears voices (his own voice - I guess like an impulse) telling him to kill himself & hurt himself and that nobody likes him( this has been going on for a week. This kid is like the MOST popular kid who everyone wants to be friends with and is the star player on his baseball team, has already been scouted out to play for the high school football team. He says that he is not depressed and he has a great family support on both sides of his family, mom & dad. His parents have been split since before he would ever remember, but they get along fine. What would this be??? I didn't think schizo because it's his own voice that he says that he hears. I am very upset & confused as this is my favorite nephew and he is so upset himself. He crys and says that he doesn't want to die. I also found out that he tried "pot" 2 weeks ago for the first time and they rolled it in a page from the bible, I thought maybe he could be feeling "panic" and guilt not for the "pot" but for the bible!!! Maybe he thinks GOD's gonna get him. This was just a thought. He is a sensitive kid. Another thought was... is there something toxic that the print could have been made of like newspaper? or maybe the "pot" was laced with something. Please give me your feedback. Thanks!
Signed: 13 Year Old Hearing Voices

Dear 13 Year Old Hearing Voices,


TeenHealthFX can appreciate how scary this must be feeling for you. Obviously you care about your nephew very much and see him in such a positive light – so to think that something like this could be happening to him is understandably troubling for you, for your nephew, and for his immediate family members.


Hearing a voice (even if it is your own voice) that tells you to harm yourself or someone else is called a command auditory hallucination. When people experience hallucinations or delusions, this is a form of psychosis. And psychosis can accompany various mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, severe depressive states, and substance abuse/dependence.


Without knowing more about your nephew, it is impossible to say what is contributing to these thoughts. It may be the first psychotic break associated with schizophrenia. It could also be that the marijuana he smoked was laced with something like LSD. It is even possible that a mental health professional may find upon evaluating him that this is not a true auditory hallucination, but, as you stated, more about feelings of guilt for having smoked marijuana or having smoked using a page of the bible for rolling paper.


Since the voice your nephew is hearing is telling him to kill himself, this situation needs to be taken very seriously. FX thinks that it is critical for him to be seen by a mental health professional as soon as possible. An evaluation with a psychiatrist and/or therapist can help to determine what is contributing to the thoughts he is currently experiencing – and based on the contributing factors a treatment plan can be put into place to help these thoughts subside for your nephew.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.


If your nephew gets to the point that he is seriously considering suicide or is afraid of his impulses then he needs to seek help immediately. He can call 911 or go to his nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey he can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week.


To learn more about psychosis and schizophrenia, please read the question and answer to “I Hear Things That May Not Be There” under the Other Mental Illnesses category of the Emotional Health section of the website.

Signed: TeenHealthFX