Yes, using meth leads directly to voices in your head.

Every so often I see more search strings that lead people here as they try to find out if meth is causing the voices in their heads. It is. My most popular post on the subject is this one. Intended to describe how the voices start with audio pareidolia, the post goes a little further than just that. I suggest you read it as well as the comments, but also, I’d like to add some info around that subject today.

I like to think of myself as a rational, reasonable person, so before I first used meth, I researched it. At that time, around 2005, I didn’t find anything about it causing voices. That’s a pity. Maybe I’d have been sensible enough not to start if I had known. Anyway…

  • Not everybody who uses meth will hear voices, but you have no way of knowing for sure if they do…
  • Not everybody who hears voices knows they hear voices. Some people are oblivious or get delusional right away.
  • When they first start, the voices come and go, but the more you continue to use meth, the more they come and the less they go. Eventually you will hear them all the time.
  • If you don’t stop using meth soon enough, the voices can be permanent. They eventually will not stop even if you quit the meth. That’s why it’s really important to realize that the voices are a sign that your drug problem is serious, and that you need to stop before it’s too late. I can’t emphasize this enough… If you hear voices that aren’t really there, it means that something is going wrong in your brain. This is something to take seriously.
  • You can cope with the voices by controlling them to a limited extent. For example, if you’re paranoid and the voices are saying bad things about you, you can make them say nice things about you. I don’t recommend this and I’ll explain why further on.

If you read the linked post and the comments, you’ll notice that there are a lot of “me too” kind of comments from people who have experienced similar voices. That post has taken on a life of its own in the comments and I’ve left commenting on because it really shows how serious the problem is. There are also people who have lost the plot a long time ago, people who tell you the voices are from god, or demons, or government mind control, or whatever they believe in their psychosis. There are also loved ones of addicts who explain how they have tried to help but to no avail. And there are people who have stopped using meth but still hear voices.

The only time I recommend finding ways of coping with the voices is when you have already stopped using meth, but the voices are permanent. In that case, there are things like a “hearing voices network”. I don’t know where in the world they are and what they do. I know only that they exist. Good luck to you.

But if you’re still using meth, and hearing voices, quitting meth is the only thing to do. I don’t recommend controlling the voices, and here’s why…

The human brain is terrible at multitasking. Multitasking as we know it is a myth. For example, imagine that I have two programming tasks at work. They’re different projects. One is a WCF service written in C#, that uses XML. The other is a Node.js project in JavaScript, using lots of AJAX and JSON. To switch between them, I have to remember the difference between the programming languages used, what frameworks and API’s are involved, what the names of methods, variables and so on is, where to set breakpoints, how each program flows, what features or bugs I am looking at, and so on. Every time I switch tasks, I also have to switch context, and that takes time. The more tasks you have or the more often you switch between them, the more context switches your brain must perform, because you can only focus on one task that takes concentration and effort at a time. The reason you get nothing done if you have too many tasks to work on, is that you end up spending more time switching context than you spend working on the tasks themselves.

Coping with voices in your head is the same. You use your conscious mind to cope with them, whether it is to control and “listen” to them or some other technique. Every time you do so, you effectively context switch to an internal mental task. You disengage from the real world, from everybody and everything around you, and focus on this internal pointless task. Since you hear voices all the time, this means you spend most of the time disengaged from the world. From the point of view of everyone around you, you are doing nothing. You’re zoned out and staring into space, like a zombie. (This is on top of the already numerous symptoms you display from using meth. Pupils dilated, tense and grinding your teeth or cracking your jaw, twitchy, edgy, itchy, irritable, confused, either moody or abnormally and noticeably cheerful and silly, probably not talking too much because you have tolerance for the drug but still probably unable to sit still – or the opposite and not moving at all but focused single mindedly on a single and repetitive task, and so on.) You really do stick out like a sore thumb when using meth. It’s not the paranoia – people really do know something is wrong as you draw attention to yourself. They might not know what it is but they do know something is not OK.

Even if you don’t try to cope with the voices, you will end up “listening” to them, thinking about what they say – it doesn’t matter that you know the voices aren’t real. Hearing them leads to responding to them, directly or indirectly. Even trying to ignore them requires conscious mental effort, and as you hear them more and more while you continue using meth, you further disconnect with the world around you. The longer you go on doing this, the more often you forget that the voices aren’t real. (Sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference. For example, I’d become paranoid and convinced that everyone I worked with was aware of my drug use. I’d hear them talking about me from elsewhere in the office. I’d hear it in their actual voices, as if from various distances and directions. “Voices in your head” does not suitably describe what you think you hear.) Eventually you will lose yourself in delusions and psychosis.

So this is my advice to anyone hearing voices from using meth: First stop using meth, and then, if the voices don’t stop after two or three days, seek mental help.


Obviously I’m oversimplifying here when I write “first stop using meth”. It’s not so easy, but then not losing your mind is one hell of an incentive to stop. It was for me.

12 thoughts on “Yes, using meth leads directly to voices in your head.

    1. Interesting. I really hated those voices though. If they’re induced by meth or other drugs, it’s much better to stop before they become permanent.

      I was lucky though. It seems that they are permanent for many people.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for your “research” and the new link, Jerome.

    Another good article about hearing voices is, according to me, this one: https://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/voices-and-pseudo-voices-in-psychosis-and-ocd-differential-diagnosis/ .

    AFAIK many people with the diagnosis OCD are voice hearers as well.

    Robert LIndsay (see the link above) addresses also that connection.

    Do you have any idea, Jerome, why hearing voices seems to be so common among people diagnosed with OCD (or OCHD)?

    Yet another question to you: Do you think OCD is more prevalent among (the subgroup) addicts than in the whole population? I personally believe OCD may be more common among addicts. Is it your impression, too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not that I know of. I had many interactions with addicts several years ago, and wouldn’t describe any of them as OCD… they were just tweakers. I don’t get to meet other addicts any more, whether using or in recovery. The last time I went to an NA meeting was around March 2015.

      When I was in rehab – that would be late October 2009 to start April 2010, there were many residents who had bipolar disorder… So many, I was skeptical that they really had bipolar disorder. I thought they might all have been misdiagnosed when they were using addicts who failed to tell their doctors that their moods might have something to do with the ups and downs of crack cocaine.

      Worth mentioning is that I went to rehab in Natal which is on the other side of this little country. Apparently the humid weather there is not good for crystal meth, so the other addicts were mostly users of the combination of either alcohol and cocaine, or alcohol and crack cocaine. If any of them heard voices, they didn’t admit it, so I don’t know if coke does not lead to hearing voices, or they just didn’t say so. Few there were as open about their pasts as I was, and I don’t know why. (Being open got me lots of friends though. Pretty much everyone there liked me, and that never happened anywhere before. When I left, I had a crowd of people saying goodbye. It was a stark contrast to all the jobs I screwed up on meth, where the people were only too happy to see me go.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First: It’s easy to like you, Jerome. You really ARE a Daddy Bear, caring for others.

    Second: That there might be a link between addictions (where the main symptom is you get high) and bipolar disorder (in both mania and depression phases) sounds kind of logical to me. Bipolarity means, in a way, you experience both Heaven and Hell (but not at the same time, of course). So why not try to hurry up a return to Heaven from Hell or, if you already are in Heaven, try to prolong/extend – or intensify – your stay in Heaven?

    Robert Lindsay argues that voice hearing is common not only if you are diagnosed with schizophrenia but also if you suffer from bipolar disorder, depression or OCD.

    He writes in his blog post (se the link above):

    Although voices can be heard in other illnesses, especially Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression, they often take on a different quality than we see with schizophrenia. In Bipolar Disorder, the voices are more fleeting than continuous, and there is often only one voice. During Psychotic Mania, the voice may as likely tell the person how special and great they are than anything else. Voices in Psychotic Depression generally do not go on all the time, are limited to a single voice, and tend to focus around themes of guilt, fatalism, serious illness, death, suicide, homicide, nonexistence and other morbid topics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Im nearly 53yr i have been on amphetamines & meth for just over 39yr.
    I have, snorted, booted, drunk & smoked it & still do and on average i consume 9 grams weekly & still do & i will tell you all now its not the meth that makes you hear voices its the lack of sleep.
    So when you learn how to balance the 2 everything comes back to ground level. I know a lot of you will say no way i have been doing that for so long & quiet a few of my friends can’t believe I’m still walking this planet but its true and i will let you know even though I’m nearly 53 i still only look in my late 30’s early forties & that is due to the fact i only smoke meth & don’t boot it & i eat well & make sure i get enough sleep here and there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, as long as it works for you and you are doing well enough in life, good for you.

      TBH, although I heard voices for about five years and it stopped every time I stopped meth briefly, the voices stopped in my last year of using. I don’t know why but they did. It’s not something I make a big deal about, because I don’t know why they stopped while I was still using. At the time I was mostly pissed though, because my dealer kept selling me bad meth.

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  4. Hello Jerome.
    Thank you thank you very much for all these postings. They helped and still help me a lot though it. I reas them again when I might start felling that the proceeds of meth induce voices are going to start. And for me at last, do the trick and take those nasty fu@&er voices away.

    I hope you can keep these posts as long enough because they are a real help for guys like me who realized the same thing about Tina using. Although it is a fight for me I can keep my sobering longer each time. Last time was 8 monthish and now I can say that I still have 1gr of T in my night table drawer and I am not compelled to using it. ( I know my method could sound little sadistic). Anyway.. thanks again man.

    Greeting from Barcelona

    Cheers

    J.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hearing voices means demonic oppression. Deliverance can help you (we got people in our group having this problem after meth and they are being healed). deliverancerevolution.org- there is an online prayer room here where a Pastor can help you

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  6. I remember it started about a month after I began using meth intravenously. It began as one or two voices, always situationally appropriate. For example, showing up to my first pool at 4 a.m.(I maintained pools for HOA’s and Apts during the summer), and swearing on my life and everything I love that I heard two teenagers laughing and commenting on the way I wore my clothes and how I was working. It sounded very distant. I walked around that damn pool 4 times looking for these kids but had no success. I then realized I was trippin, and probably just needed some sleep. Fast forward only a few months later and I couldn’t turn on the shower and shut the door without hearing literally my entire family screaming at the door, begging me and crying to stop killing myself and that I couldn’t continue to live this way. At my worst, I would even hear them physically banging on the door, loud AF and it would give me so much anxiety I would yell back, “The door is fucking unlocked! I’m not doing shit I swear please go TF AWAY!!!” I would purposely unlock the door just in case my very real and deeply sorrowful family really wanted to swing the door open to check on me. I would open the door cautiously as if I expected a surprise intervention right then and there, nothing on but a towel. Shortly after this became my everyday life because I simply couldn’t stop slamming the shit. I was convinced that Satan himself was giving me an ability to hear the thoughts of those around me. It got bad enough and I went to treatment. Upon admittance, I heard the same voices I would hear in public, several different ones, and I was severely delusional. This lasted for weeks, if not over a month, and that was completely sober, surrounded by emotional support, plenty of food, and an exercise regimen. Two weeks after I was released from treatment I got high again. I was in treatment for a total of 132 days and after all that time sober and getting healthy, I got high and immediately went into psychosis. The voices were back, and louder than I could’ve expected. People, the fun lasts for an extremely short time. The only difference between myself and the homeless guy talking shit to his sonic straw at the bus stop is that I had provisions, and parents who gave alot of fucks about me. I never laugh or am weirded out by the crazy street people. They’re dealing with such a heavy, consistent weight that may never leave them until they die. Live life with gratitude and and don’t self destruct your uniquely intricate mind and personality. If you start hearing voices, start accepting help, you’d be surprised how many people out there care about you simply based on what’s going on inside your fucked up head. Peace.

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    1. I got a good laugh, ONLY! because I could relate! ~ Period. ( Oddly enough I find a little comfort in not being the only one) Blessings !

      Like

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