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Why is my brother hearing imaginary voices?

Q: My brother is 29 years old. In his previous company, he remained in tension due to the behaviour of his colleagues and working environment. Doctors then advised to change his job. He suffered from a lot of tension as he completed his M.Sc (computers) while he was working. He worked hard and got a job. But he complained that his colleagues kept talking about him. I tried to make him understand that he should not listen to what they say and pay attention to his work. His performance in the company was good and once he showed me an email, where his work was appreciated. One day he told me that his colleague had complained against him. The other day he said that his boss asked for a resignation because of poor performance. He could not digest this, which lead to a lot of tension. After this his behaviour changed and he started listening to voices of people talking about him. Even at home, he conversed in whispers, that too under a bed sheet so that other people in the neighbourhood cannot listen. He was forced to resign. All family members are trying to encourage him. He has shown little improvement. But if anyone makes any kind of query, he behaves normally but after some time he complains that people are torturing him. He can still hear voices. What can we do?

A:From the description provided: It is possible that your brother may be suffering from a psychiatric illness - Most of the psychiatric illnesses get precipitated while under stress (in your brothers case -work). There is a medical term for the suspiciousness that your brother keeps complaining - that is Paranoia — Delusions. The whispering that he complains about is part of his imagination, which could be auditory hallucination (medical term for imaginary sounds). Both of these symptoms could be part of several psychiatric illnesses. Thus, I would strongly urge you to consult a good psychiatrist, as soon as possible, as it is likely that he will have a better outcome with earlier treatment.

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