Hallucinating
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Reviewed By:

Charles Carlson, DO, MS

Charles Carlson, DO, MS (Psychiatry)

Dr. Carlson graduated from Touro University in Nevada with a degree in osteopathic medicine. He then trained as a resident in Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals where he was also a chief resident and completed a fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry. After training, he started practicing in | Addiction Psychiatry at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where he also teaches Psychiatry residents.

Yu Shirai, MD

Yu Shirai, MD (Psychiatry)

Dr. Shirai works at the Yotsuya Yui Clinic for mental health treatment for English and Portuguese-speaking patients. He treats a wide range of patients from neurodevelopmental disorders to dementia in children and participates in knowledge sharing through the Diversity Clinic.

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  • False sensory perception

  • See things don't exist

  • Hallucinations with insects

  • Have hallucinations

  • Seeing things

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

About the symptom

Most commonly, a hallucination can be seeing or hearing something that does not exist, but it could also include one of the other senses such as smell or touch. It can be caused by many different physical or psychiatric conditions.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Hallucinations

Possible causes

  • Schizophrenia

    A psychotic disorder characterized by disturbances in thinking (cognition), emotional responsiveness, and behavior, with an age of onset typically between the late teens and mid-30s. Hearing voices and/or believing things that aren't consistent with reality are common symptoms. The exact cause is unknown, but a mix of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors are likely responsible.

  • Dissociative disorder

    Dissociative disorder is a mental disorder that involves experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions, and identity. People with dissociative disorder escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy, causing problems with functioning in everyday life.

  • Hypothyroidism

    A disorder where thyroid hormone levels in the body are abnormally low. These hormones are necessary for growth, development, and metabolism. Some symptoms include unintended weight gain, constipation, changes in menstrual cycles, dry skin, brittle nails, depression and memory issues. It can be caused by an autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto's) or from prior thyroid surgery and sometimes medications.

  • Herpes Simplex Encephalitis (HSE)

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression

Related serious diseases

  • Wernicke encephalopathy

    Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) is an acute neurologic condition condition characterized by vision changes, ataxia (loss of coordination and balance), and confusion. It is caused by B1 or thiamine deficiency.

  • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES)

  • Encephalitis / encephalopathy
  • Dehydration

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Have you experienced non-existent sensory perceptions?

  • Have you temporarily lost consciousness?

  • Do you have headaches or a heavy feeling in your head?

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do your arms or legs feel weak?

Other Related Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Jardri R, Larøi F, Waters F; International Consortium on Hallucination Research. Hallucination Research: Into the Future, and Beyond. Schizophr Bull. 2019 Feb 1;45(45 Suppl 1):S1-S4. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby170. PMID: 30715538; PMCID: PMC6357977.

    https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/45/Supplement_1/S1/5305654

  • Zepf J, Zepf S. Hallucination in Adolescence-Or, Nora in Nowhereland Between Neurosis and Psychosis. Psychoanal Rev. 2018 Oct;105(5):463-480. doi: 10.1521/prev.2018.105.5.463. PMID: 30300083.

    https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/prev.2018.105.5.463

  • Graux J, Lemoine M, El Hage W, Camus V. From depersonalization to hallucination. Psychopathology. 2012;45(1):42-52. doi: 10.1159/000325911. Epub 2011 Nov 28. PMID: 22123515.

    https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/325911

  • Blom JD. Auditory hallucinations. Handb Clin Neurol. 2015;129:433-55. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62630-1.00024-X. PMID: 25726283.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B978044462630100024X?via%3Dihub

  • Wu F, Cheng J, Wang X, Wang L, Tao D. Image Hallucination From Attribute Pairs. IEEE Trans Cybern. 2022 Jan;52(1):568-581. doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2020.2979258. Epub 2022 Jan 11. PMID: 32275630.

    https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9059026

Reviewed By:

Charles Carlson, DO, MS

Charles Carlson, DO, MS (Psychiatry)

Dr. Carlson graduated from Touro University in Nevada with a degree in osteopathic medicine. He then trained as a resident in Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals where he was also a chief resident and completed a fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry. After training, he started practicing in | Addiction Psychiatry at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where he also teaches Psychiatry residents.

Yu Shirai, MD

Yu Shirai, MD (Psychiatry)

Dr. Shirai works at the Yotsuya Yui Clinic for mental health treatment for English and Portuguese-speaking patients. He treats a wide range of patients from neurodevelopmental disorders to dementia in children and participates in knowledge sharing through the Diversity Clinic.

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