"The researchers, led by John McGrath of the University of Queensland in Australia, analyzed data from the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Surveys, a set of community surveys carried out between 2001 and 2009, involving 31,261 adults in 18 countries. After ruling out experiences caused by drugs or sleep, the researchers determined that 5.8 percent of the respondents had psychotic experiences. Two thirds of these people had had only one type of episode, with hallucinations being four times more common than delusions."
The authors give one example of the kind of psychotic experience that counted in their study:
"Jenny does not have schizophrenia, but she has hallucinations. “I could feel Mark in the room, standing behind me,” she says of one such experience. “My first love, whom I hadn't seen since I was a teenager, still guiding me, as he had ever since my hallucinations started taking definite shape. I glimpsed him out of the corner of my eye, stroking my spreading wings, reassuring me I'd made the right decision, to leave my old life behind and travel to England to be a journalist.” Jenny, who requested that her real name be withheld for privacy, agreed to talk with me about her hallucinations, which she regards as benign. When she hallucinates, she always sees Mark, and he always offers her advice. He is the part of herself she turns to for guidance."
If someone is hearing voices or seeing visions that are not distressing to them and are not interfering with their ability to function at work, home, school, etc., then the experience is not pathological. Psychologists are well aware that plenty of people have non-distressing, non-impairing psychotic experiences. So there's really nothing new here, except perhaps the prevalence number that the researchers came up with. But if this article can help to decrease stigma, then I'm all for it. #psychosis #mentalhealth #stigma