The Voices in Your Head (solution)

by Seth Schoen with research by Chris Ball, j Baumgart, Francis Heaney, Stephanie Schoen, Aaron Swartz, and Vera Yin

The lyrics in each of these song clips, at least if interpreted over-literally, seem to describe a particular mental disorder listed in the DSM-IV-TR manual. The title “Voices in Your Head”, which appears in Laura Branigan’s song “Gloria”, also suggests this; “Voices in My Head” is also the title of at least eight different songs by a variety of different artists.

In some cases the song as a whole makes clear that there is no psychopathology involved, or also mentions or suggests other disorders. In cases of doubt, we use only the lyrics that we’ve quoted, although the identification of some songs’ disorders can also be aided by the song titles. We don’t use a strict interpretation of the diagnostic criteria for these disorders, so some factors that would be required to diagnose a disorder in real life can be absent or not evident.

They are presented in alphabetical order by the name of the disorder:

ICD-9DiagnosisArtistSong title
291.89Alcohol-Induced Sexual DysfunctionDead KennedysToo Drunk To Fuck
307.45Circadian Rhythm Sleep DisorderR.E.M.Daysleeper
294.10Dementia Due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease,
Without Behavioral Disturbance
WeezerMad Kow
300.6Depersonalization DisorderKraftwerkDie Mensch Maschine
300.12Dissociative AmnesiaBritney SpearsAmnesia
300.14Dissociative Identity DisorderThe VerveBittersweet Symphony
302.89FrotteurismRegina SpektorSummer in the City
302.6Gender Identity Disorder in ChildrenDar WilliamsWhen I Was A Boy
300.02Generalized Anxiety DisorderMonty PythonI’m So Worried
305.90Inhalant AbuseThe RamonesNow I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
312.32KleptomaniaJane’s AddictionBeen Caught Stealing
315.1Mathematics DisorderBadly Drawn BoyOne Plus One is One
301.81Narcissistic Personality DisorderFalcoEgoist
312.31Pathological GamblingThe Soggy Bottom BoysIn the Jailhouse Now
302.2PedophiliaThe KinksArt Lover
307.52PicaHannah FuryEat the Dirt
309.81Posttraumatic Stress DisorderThe CranberriesZombie
302.75Premature EjaculationLily AllenNot Fair
307.44Primary HypersomniaJason MrazSleep All Day
312.33PyromaniaDan BernKing of the World
315.00Reading DisorderDon HenleyJohnny Can’t Read
304.10Sedative DependenceThe Rolling StonesMother’s Little Helper
313.23Selective MutismNorabelleCheckout Line
302.83Sexual MasochismJohn “Cougar” MellencampHurts So Good
300.29Specific Phobia, Animal TypeLife in a BlenderChicken Dance
307.0StutteringThe WhoMy Generation
307.23Tourette’s DisorderBlink 182Family Reunion
302.3Transvestic FetishismMonty PythonThe Lumberjack Song
312.39TrichotillomaniaBuilding RomeDr. Doctor
302.82VoyeurismBlink 182Voyeur

The sound files are labeled with ICD-9 codes of the disorders they represent (according to DSM-IV-TR), and the arithmetic should be performed with these numeric codes. All of the disorders presented have purely numeric codes; we tragically had to pass on songs referring to the ICD-9 “V codes”, such as Weird Al Yankovic’s “Calling in Sick” for V65.2 Malingering.

In the results of the subtractions, each digit has been replaced by either one or two letters, according to the following scheme. (Each letter consistently stands for the same digit.)


The cryptogram at the bottom must be solved by turning digits back into letters. Although there may be two choices of letter to substitute for each digit, the resulting words are individually unambiguous, and the solution to the cryptogram is


which refers to the songs

Checkout Line
Art Lover
Sleep All Day
Hurts So Good
Chicken Dance
One Plus One is One
When I Was a Boy

whose initials spell CASH COW.