Most people think that hallucinations are the result of the intake of certain illegal drugs. While that is true, the use of prohibited substances is not the only thing that can cause a person to hallucinate. Also, hallucinations can also involve hearing, smelling and touching something that’s not there, and not just seeing things as a lot of individuals assume.
Whether you are the one having hallucinations or a loved one, it’s important to be checked by a specialist. While it’s true that hallucinations can be normal at times, such as briefly seeing or hearing the voice of a recently departed family member or friend during the grieving process, they can be caused by underlying medical conditions. In fact, it’s not unlikely for hallucinations to put the person in danger, in particular if he or she becomes nervous and starts to panic.
Before you begin to believe some falsehoods about hallucinations, read on. Below you will find some of the most important matters you need to know about them.
Hallucination vs. Dream vs. Delusion
Basically, hallucinations involve experiencing or perceiving something that is not there. It can be said that a hallucination is just a figment of your imagination. What makes it different from a dream is this: you are awake while you are experiencing or perceiving the thing or things that seem present. On the other hand, delusions are ideas or opinions that result from your own process of thinking.
Different Types of Hallucinations
As mentioned before, hallucinations are not only things that you think you can see. In fact, some hallucinations involve hearing things or sounds that are not there. The following are the different hallucination types:
• Auditory hallucination – This type of hallucination makes you hear voices talking to one another. Sometimes the voices may be talking to you or telling you to do something. You may think that the sounds you are hearing are coming from your surroundings or inside your mind.
• Visual hallucination – It’s just like saying you are seeing things when you are having a bout of visual hallucination. You may see the face of someone you know, or you may see insects crawling on a body part of yours. If you are suffering from a form of seizure called “occipital”, you may see spots or shapes in bright colors.
• Olfactory hallucination – If you smell something that isn’t there, you are suffering from hallucination that is the olfactory kind. You may perceive that the house is on fire or there’s a nasty odor coming from your own body.
• Gustatory hallucination – It is possible for you to perceive tastes that are not there, and it’s the kind of hallucination that falls under this category. For instance, you may think that a beverage has a strange taste.
• Tactile hallucination – Are you feeling a gust of air on your face or hands? Does it feel like there are creepy crawlers under your skin? Do you feel like somebody is pinching you even when no one is around? Then you could be suffering from what’s known as tactile hallucination.
Usual Medical Causes of Hallucinations
Earlier, it’s said that hallucinations can be associated with several different medical conditions. It is important to be checked by a doctor to know the root cause. Having the underlying condition managed or treated can help in dealing with hallucinations. Here are the usual culprits:
• Schizophrenia – Experts say that as much as 70 percent of individuals with schizophrenia have visual hallucinations. About 60 to 90 percent of them experience auditory hallucinations.
• Parkinson’s disease – It’s not unlikely for half of those with Parkinson’s perceive things that do not really exist.
• Alzheimer’s disease – Hallucinations are more commonly experienced during the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Any form of dementia can actually cause an individual to hallucinate.
• Brain tumor – Growths in the brain can cause different kinds of hallucinations, depending on where they are situated.
• Epilepsy – Having this condition may leave you with hallucinations. The kind you may experience will depend on which part of your brain is affected when you are having seizures.
• Migraine – If you have migraine, you may suffer from visual hallucinations. It’s not unlikely for you to see lights in varying bright colors when an attack is about to happen.