Five months ago I started a relationship with someone I’ve been friends with for 12 1/2 years. He’s recently told me that he hears voices and some nights/mornings he can’t fall asleep because they won’t stop and this has been going on for a year. It gets to the point that if he’s been trying to go to sleep and can’t, he breaks down and cries or starts laughing and venting. He never gets violent towards me only himself. I’m scared that he may end up fatally hurting himself. He said he’s been in the psych hospital before but nothing seems to help.

The modern-day purpose of psychiatric hospitals is usually safety. Most people only stay for a period of several days. Many are let go too soon. Longer-term mental health treatment is typically outpatient in nature. It’s unclear why he’s not currently in outpatient treatment. Perhaps it’s because he feels that “nothing seems to help.”

Medication is typically the treatment of choice for auditory hallucinations. Counseling can help, too. Sometimes an individual will have to try a number of different treatments and providers. Though it can be frustrating, it is certainly worth the effort. It’s important that he finds the right treatment. It can make all the difference.

You should encourage him to consult both a therapist and a psychiatrist. Without treatment, the concern is that his symptoms may worsen. With treatment, however, the opposite is much more likely to happen. Let’s hope that he will take your advice and will seek help. Good luck to the both of you. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle