Trauma and hallucinatory experience in psychosis.

Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London, United Kingdom.
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (Impact Factor: 1.81). 09/2005; 193(8):501-7. DOI: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000172480.56308.21
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent research indicates that there may be phenomenological, symptom, and diagnostic associations between trauma and hallucinations. However, the nature of the relationship is poorly understood from a psychological perspective. We report a theoretically informed phenomenological study. From descriptions of reported traumas and hallucinations, we assessed the rates of four types of hypothesized association between traumas and hallucinations (direct, indirect, stress, and none) in 75 participants with nonaffective psychosis. In a subgroup who had experienced trauma (N = 40), 12.5% had hallucinations with similar themes and content to their traumas, 45% had hallucinations in which the themes were the same but not the content, and 42.5% had no identifiable associations between their hallucinations and previously experienced trauma. Traumas rated as intrusive were significantly associated with hallucinations rated as intrusive, although intrusive hallucinations were not associated with traumas in general. The traumas most likely to be associated with hallucinations were sexual abuse and bullying.

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    ABSTRACT: There is controversy over whether childhood trauma (CT) is a causal risk factor for psychosis. The aim of this study was to provide psychologists with a brief overview of the research into relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis and directions for psychological interventions. It details six of the highest quality studies in the area and tentatively concludes from these that there is evidence for a relationship between CT and psychosis. Hallucinations and delusions have been implicated as important factors in the relationship between CT and psychotic disorder and these are discussed, along with post-traumatic intrusions and schemas, which have been conceptualised as part of the psychological mechanisms whereby CT confers a risk for psychosis. The development of psychological interventions for people with psychosis who have experienced CT is in its infancy but has been based on evidence-based cognitive behavioural interventions in psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. A formulation-based approach is described in this paper, along with a case study.
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    Frontiers in Psychiatry 11/2014; 5:156.


Available from
May 31, 2014