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1. if the voices are IN your head? Those are called thoughts. And are NOT schizophrenia.
2. If the voices are OUTSIDE your head? Have you heard them before? (IE Flashbacks). Or are they entirely new? (Possible schizophrenia, but also possible several other things, auditory hallucinations come from maaaaaany different sources/causes.)
The age check…
The MOST COMMON ONSET
- Men = late teens to early 20s
- Women = 20’s & 30’s
The RULE OUT CHECK
Are you on ANY medications, suffered ANY head trauma, or have ANY other symptoms?
And even if the voices are new & outside, you’re in the age range, are taking zero meds, haven’t ever banged your head …in your life… much less had a concussion, and have no other symptoms.
Sorry. That doesn’t guarantee schizophrenia. It gives you about a 20% chance of it, whilst other conditions & disorders are 80%. And need to be ruled out, by a complete physical INCLUDING full neurological & endocrine studies.
You’re FAR more likely to be a psychopath (1% of the population, than a schizophrenic. (0.45% of the population).
If you’re truly concerned? See a series of doctors who can evaluate your medical history & psych profile & run the correct tests.
Otherwise, it’s like panicking about the ice caps melting, or firing yourself up about the injustices of the world, or any other kind of mental masturbation.
Full-blown schizophrenia affects about 0.32% of the population (around 24 million people) as a conservative estimate. There are other schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (schizoid, schizotypal, schizophreniform) that account for another ~1.9%.
It's on the uncommon side of incidence (significantly less common than depression or anxiety, for example), but your likelihood of having these issues increases proportionally with how prevalent it is in your genetic history. Having more than one relative increases your risk of developing all schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (and also, autism - they are related), and this risk increases with other conditions of environment such as trauma and drug use.
However, psychosis is only one symptom of schizophrenia. And hallucinations are only one symptom of psychosis. So if you're seeing/hearing things that aren't there? You need to get evaluated, because it could be literally anything, including secondary psychotic symptoms with PTSD. You could have a tumor, cancer, depression, epilepsy, bipolar, DID, pharmacological side effects, etc etc etc.
Really get yourself to a doctor, if it's possible. And if it does turn out that you may be dealing with an issue like this, it isn't the end of the world. There are treatments for all schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, and even if the treatments aren't effective, you can still build resilience in your life that will help absorb/mitigate the worst of the disease.
Assurance/reassurance can actually make anxiety issues worse as there’s never enough that anyone else can say that will make the anxiety go away. This is why it’s important to develop skills on your own to cope with the anxiety. I actually disagree with quite a few of the coping skills out there as they essentially boil down to reassuring ourselves. I know I’m not the first one to make this connection, but there is no real challenging of the therapy types that are pushed so hard.