Hallucinations: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

What Are Hallucinations?

A hallucination is an experience of sensing something that is not really present in the environment but is instead created by the own mind. In fact, hallucinations mean to wander mentally in Latin, Hallucinations can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted which seems very vivid to the person experiencing it.

Hallucinations occur frequently in people with psychiatric conditions that include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Sleep, loss, grief, and sensory deprivation can trigger hallucinations also using the substance like LSD, alcohol, stimulants, opioids can spark hallucination.

Types

There are five different types of hallucinations that include:

  1. Auditory– Hearing voices that no one else can which is the most common type of hallucinations.
  2. Visual– Seeing people, colors, shapes, or other different items that are not real is the second common type of hallucinations.
  3.  Tactile– Feeling the sensation like bugs crawling under your skin or as if you are being touched when you are not.
  4. Olfactory– Smelling something that has no physical source. It is less common than visual and auditory hallucinations.
  5. Gustatory– Having a taste in your mouth that has no source as it is the rarest type of hallucinations.

Causes

Hallucinations most often result from the following causes:

Schizophrenia

70% of people with schizophrenia get visual hallucinations whereas 60% to 90% hear voices but some may also smell and taste the things that even doe not exist.

Parkinson’s Disease

Up to half of the people who have this condition sometimes see things that do not exist.

Alzheimer’s Disease

They can change in the brain that can bring on hallucination as it may be more likely to happen when your disease is advanced.

Migraines

About a third of people with this kind of headache also have an aura which is also a type of visual hallucinations. It appears like a multicolored crescent of light.

Brain Tumor

Depending on where it is, it can cause various types of hallucinations. If it is an area that has to do with vision, you may see the things that are not real and you may also see shapes of light. Tumors in some parts of the brain lead to hallucinations of smell as well as taste.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome

This condition causes people with vision problems like glaucoma or cataract to see things. At first, you may not realize it’s hallucinations but you out that what you are seeing is not real.

Epilepsy

The seizures that go along with the disorders have a higher risk to have hallucinations. The type also depends on which part of your brain the seizure affects.

Symptoms Of Hallucinations

Hallucinations can have a range of symptoms which depend on the type that includes:

  • Feeling sensation in the body such as crawling feeling on the skin
  • hearing sounds such as music, footsteps.
  • Hearing voices like positive or negative voices such as voices commanding you to harm yourself or others too.
  • Seeing objects, beings, or the patterns of lights.
  • Smelling an odor that can be pleasant or foul
  • Tasting something often a metallic taste.

Diagnosis

After asking about your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle habits your health provider will likely do a physical exam and order some of the tests to try and rule out medical or neurological causes of hallucinations. it includes:

  • Blood test to check for toxic causes
  • Electroencephalogram to check for abnormal electrical activity in your brain.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging to look for brain issues such as brain tumors.

Treatments

The type of treatment recommended for hallucinations will depend on the kind of hallucinations you are experiencing. The treatment may include:

Medications

Antipsychotic medications can be effective at treating types of hallucinations either by getting rid of them by reducing their frequency that makes them less disturbing.

Therapy

Certain types of therapy which are also referred to as talk therapy which can be profitable for patients experiencing hallucinations where a trained psychotherapist uses a range of techniques and strategies that help you to navigate the problems.

Self-Help

In addition to leaning on trusted friends and family members to support you during hallucinations episodes that can be exercise, listening to music, ignoring the voices, talking with others, reading.

Coping

Coping with hallucinations requires an effort on your part. It may involve assistance from your inner circle. The people with whom you surround yourself will want to be cautious of dismissing your concerns about hallucinations. You may also find that maintaining day to day schedule can help you feel grounded and secure.