Understanding what happens at first onset of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) is extremely important on a clinical and theoretical level. Previous studies have only focused on age with regard to first onset of AVHs. In the current epidemiological study, we examined a number of aspects relating to first onset of AVHs, such as the role of adverse life events at first onset of AVHs on symptom severity and general mental health. For this purpose, we compared participants who reported adverse life events at first onset of AHVs (adverse-trigger group; N = 76) to those that did not report any specific events at first onset of AVHs (no-adverse-trigger group; N = 59) on a large array of variables. Results showed that AVHs in the adverse-trigger group were experienced as more emotional compared to the no-adverse-trigger group. In addition, the adverse-trigger group more often reported hallucinations in other (non-auditory) sensory modalities (e.g. visual) compared to the no-adverse-trigger group. Furthermore, the adverse-trigger group reported poorer general mental health, reported having contact with mental health professionals more often, and also reported more frequently taking medication for psychological problems in general. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords: Adverse life events; Auditory verbal hallucinations; Epidemiological; First onset; Non-clinical; Trauma; Trigger.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.