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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Personality Disorder

Q. I have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and am being seen by a therapist and psychiatrist. I have a question. Sometimes I hear the television and then walk into the living room and see that the TV is not even on. This happens a lot. Should I be worried?

A. Worrying about this doesn't sound like a good plan--but I would raise the matter with your psychiatrist to see if it is something that needs further investigation. You may simply be experiencing an auditory memory of something you heard on TV, as it is being played back in your mind. On the other hand, you may be experiencing some form of auditory hallucination. This term does not mean you are crazy or have a psychotic disorder.

People may experience abnormal auditory sensations as a result of many medical or neurological conditions, including certain types of epilepsy (seizures in the temporal lobe), disorders of the ear, and reactions to drugs or medications. Your psychiatrist might wish to do some kind of brain imaging (such as an MRI) or a recording of your brain waves (an EEG) to rule out such possibilities. Hearing voices may also occur in the context of various psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. So-rather than worry, sit down with your psychiatrist and discuss the options.

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July 2001
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