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Hearing voices Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hearing voices. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you been hearing voices when no one else is in the room or hearing voices that other people do not hear?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Do you hear sounds such as muttering, whispering, music, etc.?
  3. Do you hear voices talking about you or to you?
  4. Do the voices give orders?
  5. What do the voices say?

    Why: may help to determine if content is depressive, grandiose, appropriate for the person's mood e.g. in manic states the content may be grandiose, such as a voice telling the person that they have special powers; whereas in depressive disorders the content is likely to be abusive and consistent with the state of low self esteem. Voices heard in schizophrenia may include two or more people discussing that person or arguing about him in the third person or voices that form a running commentary on that person's behavior or voices that make obscene, threatening, or highly critical comments.

  6. Are these real voices, coming from outside your head, or your own thoughts inside your head?
  7. Do you ever hear your own thoughts, spoken aloud, outside your head?

    Why: this is called "thought echo" and may occur in schizophrenia.

  8. If acute in nature must consider delirium or a new onset of psychiatric illness as a possible cause of hallucinations

    Why: Delirium is an acute confusional state due to many causes e.g. infection, drug intoxication, alcohol withdrawal, liver failure, kidney failure, hypoxia (reduced oxygen levels in the blood), low blood sugar, stroke, heart attack or head injury. If the onset is chronic a diagnosis of psychiatric illness or dementia may be more likely.

  9. Are there any other false sensory perceptions?

    Why: e.g. visual hallucinations (seeing), tactile hallucinations (touch), olfactory hallucinations (smell) or gustatory hallucinations (taste) . These types of hallucinations most commonly occur in organic mental disorders such as delirium or dementia rather than schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychotic depression.

  10. Are the hallucinations primarily visual in nature?

    Why: this would suggest an organic cause such as delirium, epilepsy or brain tumor.

  11. Are the hallucinations primarily auditory in nature?

    Why: this is the type of hallucination most commonly associated with schizophrenia but may be associated with bipolar affective disorder, dementia or delirium, and their content tends to be related to the nature of the disorder.

  12. Are the hallucinations episodic?

    Why: if hallucinations occur in episodes with normal behavior in between, one should consider epilepsy or narcolepsy.

  13. Are the hallucinations associated with the early stages of falling asleep or awakening?

    Why: these type of hallucinations are called "hypnogogic" and are common in narcolepsy but may also be seen in normal people.

  14. At what time of the day are the symptoms worse?

    Why: e.g. hallucinations and other symptoms that are worse in the late afternoon and at night are typical of delirium.

  15. Was there a known precipitating factor to the symptoms?

    Why: e.g. physical illness, recent surgery, starting a different medication, abstaining from alcohol, tragic event, emotional shock.

  16. Past psychiatric history?

    Why: e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, paranoid disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder- may be sometimes difficult to differentiate between delirium and these disorders if delusions and hallucinations are present.

  17. Medications?

    Why: certain medications may cause intoxication e.g. anticonvulsants, anticholinergics, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, opiates; or may cause delirium on drug withdrawal.

  18. Family history?

    Why: e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, heart attack, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and depression, lupus erythematosus, epilepsy.

  19. Alcohol history?

    Why: to assess chance of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, alcohol abuse, alcohol poisoning, Korsakoff's psychosis as the cause of hallucinations. Hallucinations are common during alcohol withdrawal.

  20. Illicit drug use history?

    Why: amphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP may cause delirium and may also precipitate acute psychosis.

  21. Psychotic symptoms?

    Why: e.g. delusions, hallucinations and disordered thinking - may suggest schizophrenia or bipolar disorder but these symptoms may also be present with delirium, dementia and severe depression.

  22. Paranoid thoughts?

    Why: may be present in schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, psychotic depression, paranoid delusional disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, brain damage, abuse of stimulant of hallucinogenic drugs, dementia and cultural isolation.

  23. Symptoms of depression?

    Why: e.g. depressed mood, crying spells, anhedonia (loss of interest or pleasure), increase or decrease in appetite (usually decreased), weight loss or gain, insomnia or increased sleeping (usually early morning waking), fatigue, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of excessive guilt, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, low libido, thoughts of death or suicide attempt. Severe psychotic depression may feature auditory hallucinations.

  24. Symptoms of Bipolar disorder?

    Why: e.g. episodes of depression (often psychotic in intensity) and at other times episodes of psychotic excitement (mania or hypomania). Symptoms of psychotic excitement may include elevation of mood, increased activity, grandiose ideas, irritability, disinhibition (which affects social, sexual and financial behavior), rapid speech and racing thought, delusions (persecutory or grandiose) and sometimes hallucinations.

  25. Symptoms of dementia?

    Why: e.g. impaired memory, impaired judgement and thinking, impaired verbal fluency and impaired ability to perform complex tasks. Personality may change, impulse control may be lost and personal care deteriorates. People with dementia may also have psychiatric symptoms such as delusions, paranoid ideas, hallucinations, mood disturbance and behavioral disturbance.

  26. Symptoms of delirium?

    Why: e.g. impaired conscious level with onset over hours or days, disorientation in time and/or place, unusually quite, drowsy, agitated, delusions, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations.

  27. Fever?

    Why: can suggest any infection that may cause delirium or meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess or brain hemorrhage.

  28. Headache?

    Why: may suggest brain cancer, acute stroke or migraine.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hearing voices:

The following list of conditions have 'Hearing voices' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hearing voices or choose View All.


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