Do you talk to yourself? Here's when to worry

There are few cases where talking to yourself could be a sign of mental illness.

You may not realize you are speaking out the mental list you’re making of things to get from the supermarket or when you wonder where your favourite summer dress may be, but talking to yourself is pretty normal.

Some people engage in self-talk to guide them through stress, anxiety or just to keep them grounded. However, experts say there are some instances where talking to oneself could be a sign of schizophrenia.

Why you do it

In a study cited by WebMD, 96% of participants admitted to having internal dialogues regularly while 25% admitted to talking out loud to themselves. This goes to show that many people do talk to themselves, after all, we spend a lot of time in our own heads.

Although verbalizing your thoughts to yourself may be frowned upon in public, the article says, there is nothing wrong with doing that.

There’s a stigma around talking to yourself out loud in public, but doing it can help you understand the world around you. When you talk to yourself you’re intentionally taking in your surroundings.
Getty/ Francesco Carta fotografo

When to worry

As with most things, there are instances when talking to yourself may point to a major mental health problem like schizophrenia. Muttering and speaking random sentences out loud could be signs of this condition which can affect men in their mid-20s and a bit later in the lives of women.

There is no exact cause for this condition, however, it can be brought on by brain chemical balance, genetic causes, and environmental issues. Taking drugs could also trigger schizophrenia. According to Healthline:

While people with conditions that affect psychosis such as schizophrenia may appear to talk to themselves, this generally happens as a result of auditory hallucinations. In other words, they often aren’t talking to themselves, but replying to a voice only they can hear.

You should seek professional support once you notice you’re hallucinating.

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