Five year follow-up of non-psychotic adults with frequent auditory verbal hallucinations: are they still healthy?

K. Daalman, K. M. J. Diederen*, L. Hoekema, R. van Lutterveld, I. E. C. Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Previously, we described 103 adults (mean age 41 years) who experienced frequent, auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH), in the absence of a need for mental healthcare. Importantly, these adults were largely past the peak incidence age for psychosis (15-35 years). It is unclear if these older individuals with AVH are still at increased risk for psychosis or other psychopathology. To address this question, we conducted a 5-year follow-up of previously included individuals (103 with AVH, 60 controls).

Method. Eighty-one adults with AVH (78.6%) and forty-nine controls (81.7%) could be contacted and were willing to participate. Participants were screened for psychosis and a need for mental healthcare at follow-up using the Comprehensive Assessment of Symptoms and History interview (CASH). Need for mental healthcare was defined as a clinical diagnosis as identified using the CASH and/or treatment by a mental healthcare specialist. Phenomenology of AVH was assessed with the PSYRATS Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale.

Results. Five individuals with AVH (6.2%) had developed psychosis and 32 (39.5%) had developed a need for mental healthcare. Voice-related distress at baseline significantly predicted need for mental healthcare. AVH persisted in most individuals (86.4%), without significant changes in phenomenology. None of the controls had developed psychotic symptoms, and need for mental healthcare (n = 6, 12.2%) was significantly lower in this group.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that frequent AVH in non-psychotic adults past the peak incidence age for psychosis constitute a rather static symptom and that individuals with AVH may be best viewed as situated on a need for care continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1897-1907
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume46
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hallucinations
  • need for mental healthcare
  • psychosis
  • STRUCTURED CLINICAL INTERVIEW
  • CHILDHOOD SEXUAL-ABUSE
  • SYMPTOM RATING-SCALES
  • DISORDERS SCID-II
  • GENERAL-POPULATION
  • PSYCHOTIC SYMPTOMS
  • MENTAL-DISORDERS
  • HIGH-RISK
  • DSM-IV
  • INDIVIDUALS

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