People talk to themselves out loud for many reasons. It could stem from loneliness, stress, anxiety, or even trauma. Usually, however, talking to yourself is a perfectly healthy and even beneficial way of staying focused and processing your thoughts and experiences. However, considering that this is a common symptom among individuals with mental health problems, many people wonder: is talking to yourself a sign of mental illness? Today, we’re looking into the difference between healthy vs. negative self-talk and how it may correlate with mental health disorders.
Why Do Some People Talk to Themselves?
First things first - what is self-talk? Self-talk is the way you talk to yourself or your inner voice. While we aren’t always aware of it, we all have an inner voice. This voice combines conscious thoughts, inner beliefs, and biases to create an internal monologue.
Self-talk involves the ongoing conversation a person has with themselves in their mind, whether it’s positive or negative. Some people will self-talk out loud, while it’s not as common as only talking silently to yourself inside of your head. Self-talk can be both conscious and unconscious, and it can have a powerful impact on a person’s emotions, behaviors, motivation, and endurance. On the other hand, negative self-talk can contribute to feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.
For the most part, people that talk to themselves aren’t doing anything odd or abnormal, as self-talk is normal. Some common reasons why people talk to themselves include:
- Cognitive processing: Talking to oneself can aid in cognitive processes like problem-solving, decision-making, and memory recall. Verbalizing our thoughts can help us better understand and remember information, as well as organize our thoughts and ideas.
- Habit: In some cases, people talking to themselves is simply a habit they’ve developed over time. They may do it unconsciously or to pass the time.
- Self-regulation: Talking to oneself can help regulate emotions, behavior, and attention. By verbalizing our thoughts, we can better process and manage our feelings, which can help us cope with stress and challenging situations.
- Social interaction: Some individuals may talk to themselves as a way of simulating social interaction or practicing conversations. This is especially common among individuals who are shy, uncomfortable in social situations, or have social anxiety.
Is Talking To Yourself a Mental Illness?
As we previously mentioned, self-talk or talking to oneself can help people work out problems in their minds by speaking out loud. This is also known as self-explaining. For many individuals, this is a healthy problem-solving tactic.
However, just as self-talk can be beneficial, it can sometimes be detrimental. While talking to yourself is not a sign of mental illness in all cases, it is a common trait among individuals with certain mental health disorders. What’s more, negative self-talk can greatly affect your self-esteem and self-worth.
Certain mental illnesses are associated with higher levels of cognitive disruptions or problems, which might cause people to talk to themselves to resolve them. When used in this way, self-talk offers comfort and is used as a coping mechanism. Mental illnesses commonly associated with talking to yourself include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
If talking to oneself becomes excessive, interferes with daily functioning, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations, it may be a sign of a mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. One way to distinguish between healthy self-talk and potential psychosis (losing touch with reality) is how the voice or voices appear.
Healthy internal self-talk is more of a conscious conversation. If you’re responding to voices in your head and you didn’t consciously start the conversation, if there’s more than one voice in the dialogue at once, or if there are sounds, smells, or vivid images that accompany these voices, you should speak to a mental health provider.
Our Mental Health Treatment in Pompano
Again, talking to yourself isn’t necessarily a sign of mental illness. However, when it becomes negative, mentally and emotionally harmful, or occurs excessively, it can indicate an underlying problem. If you or someone you care about is displaying any signs of mental illness, our Pompano Beach treatment center can help.
We offer adult mental health services for disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more, that incorporate evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help clients understand their disorders and learn how to cope with their symptoms.
For more information about the mental health care offered at our Pompano Beach rehab, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information, and a specialist will reach out to you.