Hallucination, Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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What is Hallucination
Hallucination is a Latin word which means "to wander mentally." Hallucinations are defined as the "sight of a nonexistent object or event." In other words hallucinations can be said to be hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or even tasting things that are not real or can be seen.

People that has psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar hallucination occurs frequently. But you don't need to be necessarily to have a mental illness to experience hallucinations.

Types
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Here are five types of hallucinations. Which are,

Auditory: Hearing voices or sounds that no one else can.

Visual: Seeing people, colors, shapes, or items that aren't real.

Tactile: Feeling sensations (like bugs crawling under your skin) or as if you're being touched when you're not.

Olfactory: Smelling something that has no physical source (less common than visual and auditory hallucinations)

Gustatory: Having a taste in your mouth that has no source (rarest type of hallucination)" Source

The Auditory and Visual Types of Hallucination are the most common types of Hallucination we experience. While the Olfactory is less common than the Auditory and Visual Hallucination.

Symptoms
"Hallucinations can have a range of symptoms, depending on the type, including:

  • Feeling sensations in the body (such as a crawling feeling on the skin or movement)

  • Hearing sounds (such as music, footsteps, or banging of doors)

  • Hearing voices (can include positive or negative voices, such as a voice commanding you to harm yourself or others)

  • Seeing objects, beings, or patterns or lights
    Smelling an odor (can be pleasant or foul and in one or both nostrils)

  • Tasting something (often a metallic taste)" Source

Causes
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"Hallucinations are most often associated with schizophrenia, a mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts and behaviors. However, they are also a possible characteristic of bipolar disorder.

With bipolar I disorder, hallucinations are possible both with mania and depression. In bipolar II, hallucinations may occur only during the depressive phase. Bipolar disorder that presents with hallucinations and/or delusions can also lead to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder with psychotic features.

Not only do hallucinations occur with mental health conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they can also occur with the following physical and psychological conditions as well.

  • Alcohol or drug use and/or withdrawal

  • Auditory nerve disease

  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID)

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma

  • Hallucinogen use

  • Metabolic conditions

  • Middle or inner ear diseases

  • Migraine

  • Narcolepsy

  • Neurologic disorders

  • Ophthalmic diseases

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Schizoaffective disorder

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Stroke" Source

Treatment
The type of hallucination determines the type of treatment the patient will have. However, the doctor will place the patient on a multidisciplinary approach that includes medication, therapy, and social support.

Psychotherapy
"Psychotherapy for hallucinations involves engaging the patient to be curious around the details of the symptoms, providing psycho-education, exploring "plausible reasons" for the hallucinations and normalizing the experience.

Self-Help
The following self-help strategies can help patients cope with auditory hallucinations:5

Exercise

  • Humming or singing a song several times (like "Happy Birthday")

  • Ignoring the voices

  • Listening to music

  • Reading (forward and backward)

  • Talking with others" Source

Medication
"Antipsychotic medications often are effective for treating hallucinations, either by eliminating or reducing the frequency with which they occur or by having a calming effect that makes them less distressing.

Nuplazid (pimavanserin) is the first drug approved to treat hallucinations associated with psychosis experienced with Parkinson’s disease." Source

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