Hallucinations: Meaning, Causes, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is a hallucination?

Hallucinations are sensations that do not exist in the real world. These sensations are created by a person who is suffering from a sense of hallucination. This can include hearing or auditory perception of different voices, sound or noise that is not real, it also includes the sense of touches like crawling of fingers in the skin or even sense of smell (the technical name is olfaction), like sensing of an odor that is not in real.

Hallucinations in common occur to the person who consumes drugs and alcohol, so this can be a feature of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and are also very common in drug-induced states and drug withdrawal. This occurs with several different drugs.

Types of Hallucinations:

1. Auditory Hallucinations (Hearing Things)

This is a type of hallucination where the person can hear the sound from inside or outside of the mind. The person might hear voices from in and around him.

2. Visual Hallucinations (Seeing Things)
  • In this type, people suffering from it could see things others don’t, like insects crawling on your hand or on the face of someone you know.
  • See objects with the wrong shape or see things moving in ways they usually don’t like the alphabet dancing or the number fighting.
  • An interesting fact is that these type of people can have greater intelligence in Bipolar disorder
3. Olfactory Hallucinations (Smelling Things)

Olfactory hallucination involves sensing a specific odor that the person feels as if it is coming from his own body or any other person nearby him.

4. Gustatory Hallucinations (Tasting Things)

The person who is undergoing the type of hallucination may feel a sense of test which has no source at all! This particular type of hallucination is very rare.

5. Tactile or Somatic Hallucinations (Feeling Things)

This type provides a sense of touch which is not real, like an insect crawling over the body.

What causes hallucination?

Hallucinations most often result from:

  • Schizophrenia: This is a mental disorder in which people face difficulty in drawing a line between the real and virtual world.
  • Parkinson’s disease: This is a brain disorder that causes a problem in the balance of the body. Up to half of the people who have this condition sometimes see things that aren’t there.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, especially Lewy body dementia: These types of diseases causes discomfort in the part of the brain and this could, in turn, cause hallucination problem.
  • Migraines: This causes excruciating pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Approx one-third of the population having such headaches also have the chances of having Aure that is a kind of visual hallucination, it looks like a multicolored ray of light
  • Charles Bonnet syndrome: In this situation people having eye defects such as glaucoma, cataract, etc. to see objects or things. In this type of condition, it is difficult to decide whether the person is suffering from an actual hallucination or not.

Are Hallucinations and Delusions the same?

Hallucinations and delusions both are characterized as symptoms of psychosis and mental sickness that can result in psychotic scenes like schizophrenia.

A hallucination is described along the way of senses, this particular feel affects the senses to define the proper margin between the real and the virtual senses.

A delusion is a bit different from a hallucination. It also gives an experience of the virtual world but this is a belief that is fake or impossible. Our brain is very imaginative and colorful in the way of making us think beyond the box, it would sometimes lead us to think that it is true. It can be caused or the imagination can originate by the person’s intelligence, education, culture, religion, or another similar factor. Some incidents happen accidentally but when it occurs repeatedly we develop firm belief over it, this goes hand in hand with the person’s who experiences delusion too.

Thus, both hallucinations and delusions are disturbances in reality.

What are the Symptoms of Hallucinations

Hallucinations can have many symptoms, every symptom depends on its type. Some of them are –

  • Feeling sensations in the body.
  • Hearing sounds
  • Seeing objects, beings, or patterns or lights
  • Smelling an odor
  • Tasting something

Some Examples of hallucinations:

A hallucination can be anything related to the senses, and different people with the same condition can experience something unique. There are few common hallucinations –

  • A sensation of crawling.
  • Hearing sounds like the closing of doors, or footsteps that are not present.
  • Hearing commanding voices.
  • Seeing lights or patterns.
  • A sensation of floating or being outside one’s body.
  •  Smelling an unexplainable odor. It is commonly rare.

How is Hallucination diagnosed?

Any diagnosis for a disorder is instigated from the origin of the disorder, same here doctor gets to know the patient’s history of when was his first episode and what he thought could have been the cause for his hallucination. Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) to check for abnormal electrical activity in your brain and to check for seizures
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for structural brain issues such as a brain tumor or stroke

Treatments to get rid of Hallucination

To provide a perfect treatment we need to know the origin and type of the particular sickness, It is the same as removing a weed we must get through the root of it, this aids us to eradicate it utterly.

Some of the ways to treat hallucination are:

In this type of therapy, the medical servants help the patient to understand his problem and tries to get to the causes from him. This would benefit in coming out of the well of hallucination.

A perfect solution for a problem lies in the problem, so treating hallucination is easier for the person himself who is going through it, some phrases like “All is well” and avoiding which is not real by throwing more focus on the reality would help. 

Nuplazid is the first drug approved to treat hallucinations associated with psychosis experienced with Parkinson’s disease.

Pay Attention to the Environment
It is an important aspect of treatment in any sort of disorder. The betterment of the treatment will be at its good pace if the environment around the patients exists happily and peacefully. Nature’s art can heal any broken heart. The chirping birds, the oxygenated trees help us give the positive to fight over any negative soul in us.

Use Distraction
Beat over loneliness and staying in relation with friends, family or loved ones can heal a person from hallucination. A tight hug from the loved ones is enough for you to battle over any of your hardships, so why not a hallucination?

We fight hundreds of battles in our day-to-day life, but hardly we win the battle when we stand alone opposing many. Om the other way round the battle could be achieved with sparkling success when our loved ones and our parents are with us to support and care for us. Time to join hands and touch the colorful rainbow up in the peaceful sky.


Ques. Are Hallucinations psychosis?
Ans. Psychosis in brief means the loss of contact with reality so thus this can feature hallucination or delusion.

Ques. Is hallucination a symptom of depression?
Ans. People with severe depression have a higher risk of experiencing hallucinations. So both are interrelated when it reaches above the threshold energy.

Ques. Are hallucinations dangerous?
Ans. In some severe cases, fear and obsession prompted by hallucinations can lead to dangerous actions or behaviors, like hurting themselves.

Ques. Will dehydration cause hallucinations?
Ans. Dehydration causes Psychotic symptoms leading to hyponatremia that results in causing hallucinations or even coma.

Ques. Can hallucinations be caused by lack of sleep?
Ans. Yes, lack of sleep can trigger hallucination, this is because of the mental stress that is caused.

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