All schizophrenics do not hear voices, but it is a frequent symptom of the disorder, common to 70% of those who suffer from it. Hallucinations may take many forms and affect any and all of the senses. Medications are often prescribed to treat the condition, but they are not always effective. Many patients require admittance into in a psychiatric facility so that their treatment plan and progress can be appropriately monitored.
For the most part, schizophrenia patients truly believe that when they hear voices, people are talking to them. They usually feel compelled to act on instructions or demands of the hallucinations and are generally unable to grasp the concept that the symptom is solely a manifestation of their mind. The occurrences are very real to them. The same thing often happens with patients who suffer from visual disturbances. They can actually see something in their mind that no one else can see, and they mistake those visions for reality.
When people hear voices, the experience can be very disturbing for them. Many times, the auditory hallucinations are quite mean-spirited and taunting. Occasionally though, the voices are friendly. Sometimes, patients with the disorder believe that they are hearing angels or that a religious figure is speaking to them.
Usually, people who suffer from schizophrenia hear voices intermittently. During times of stress, the hallucinations may appear. Other times, the disturbances may cause the person to be woken up from a sound sleep. There are several instances where the individual with the disorder has no recollection of his or her activities during the time the hallucinations are active, but may be aware that a significant amount of time has suddenly passed.
Auditory hallucinations often lead to delusional thinking and behavior. The person with the disorder may have the irrational belief that someone or something is out to cause harm to him or her. It is not uncommon for a psychiatrist to prescribe antipsychotic medication to eliminate the perception a patient has when he or she claims to hear voices, although many times, the delusional thinking does not readily subside.
The effect that medicine has on a patient's mental state is often determined by the source of the disorder and how long the person has experienced the hallucinations. Many times, schizophrenia symptoms first present during teenage years or in early adulthood. The more time that passes before treatment is administered, however, the less likely the patient will be able to fully recover with therapy and medication.