Hallucination

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Definition

What is hallucination?

A hallucination is the experience of a sensation in the absence of a provoking stimulus. The hallucinated sensation can be visual, auditory, tactile and sometimes olfactory or gustatory.

Common hallucinations can include:

  • Feeling sensations in the body, such as a crawling feeling on the skin or the movement of internal organs.
  • Hearing sounds, such as music, footsteps, windows or doors banging.
  • Hearing voices when no one has spoken (the most common type of hallucination). These voices may be positive, negative, or neutral. They may command someone to do something that may cause harm to themselves or others.
  • Seeing patterns, lights, beings, or objects that are not there.
  • Smelling an odor.

Sometimes, hallucinations are normal. For example, hearing the voice of or briefly seeing a loved one who recently died can be a part of the grieving process.

How common is hallucination?

Hallucination is extremely common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can hallucination usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Sleep problems

Causes

What causes hallucination?

Causes of hallucination can include:

  • Mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are among the most common causes of hallucinations. Schizophrenia, dementia, and delirium are a few examples.
  • Substance abuse. Substance abuse is another fairly common cause of hallucinations. Some people see or hear things that aren’t there after drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs like cocaine. Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and PCP can also cause you to hallucinate.
  • Lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to hallucinations. You may be more prone to hallucinations if you haven’t slept in multiple days or don’t get enough sleep over long periods of time.
  • Medications. Certain medications taken for mental and physical conditions can also cause hallucinations. Parkinson’s disease, depression, psychosis, and epilepsy medications may trigger hallucination symptoms.

Other conditions can also cause hallucinations. These causes can include:

  • Terminal illnesses, such as AIDS, brain cancer, or kidney and liver failure
  • High fevers, especially in children and the elderly
  • Migraines
  • Social isolation, particularly in older adults
  • Seizures
  • Deafness, blindness, or vision problems
  • Epilepsy (in some cases, epileptic seizures can cause you to see flashing shapes or bright spots)

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of hallucination. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for hallucination?

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

The best thing to do is to call your doctor right away if you suspect that your perceptions aren’t real. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. Additional tests might include a blood or urine test and perhaps a brain scan.

If you know someone who is hallucinating, don’t leave him or her alone. Fear and paranoia triggered by hallucinations can lead to dangerous actions or behaviors. Stay with the person at all times and go with them to the doctor for emotional support. You may also be able to help answer questions about their symptoms and how often they occur.

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hallucination?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hallucination:

  • Counseling might also be part of your treatment plan. This is particularly true if the underlying cause of your hallucinations is a mental health condition. Speaking with a counselor can help you get a better understanding of what is happening to you. A counselor can also help you develop coping strategies, particularly for when you are feeling scared or paranoid.
  • Recovery from hallucinations depends on the cause. If you are not sleeping enough or you are drinking too much, these behaviors can be adjusted.
  • Self-management techniques, such as regular physical exercise, meditation and spending time with supportive friends and family are also important when living with voices.
  • Some people find keeping a diary helps them feel more in control and helps to recognise when their voices are causing problems.
  • Talking to other people who hear voices can help people to talk about their experiences in a safe, non-judgmental environment and feel less alone. Peer support groups the online communitiescan help people to feel heard and understood

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: February 18, 2019 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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