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Perceptual disorders hallucinations auditory hallucination hypnagogic hallucination visual hallucination causes of hallucinations diagnosis of hallucination treatments for hallucinations

What causes hallucinations?

There are numerous medical and psychiatric causes of hallucinations. Some of the common causes include the following:

Drugs. Hallucinogenics such as ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid), mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine, or peyote), and psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine, or mushrooms) trigger hallucinations. Other drugs such as marijuana and PCP have hallucinatory effects. Certain prescription medications may also cause hallucinations. In addition, drug withdrawal may induce tactile and visual hallucinations; as in an alcoholic suffering from delirium tremens (DTs).

Stress. Prolonged or extreme stress can impede thought processes and trigger hallucinations.

Sleep deprivation and/or exhaustion. Physical and emotional exhaustion can induce hallucinations by blurring the line between sleep and wakefulness.

Meditation and/or sensory deprivation. When the brain lacks external stimulation to form perceptions, it may compensate by referencing the memory and form hallucinatory perceptions. This condition is commonly found in blind and deaf individuals.

Electrical or neurochemical activity in the brain. A hallucinatory sensation--usually involving touch--called an aura, often appears before, and gives warning of, a migraine. Also, auras involving smell and touch (tactile) are known to warn of the onset of an epileptic attack.

Mental illness. Up to 75% of schizophrenic patients admitted for treatment report hallucinations.

Brain damage or disease. Lesions or injuries to the brain may alter brain function and produce hallucinations.

More information on hallucinations

What are hallucinations? - Hallucinations are sensations that are not real. Any of the senses can be involved. Illusions are different from hallucinations.
What is auditory hallucination? - Auditory hallucination occurs when people hear voices or other noises although nothing is there. Auditory hallucinations can range from primitive noises to speech and music.
What is hypnagogic hallucination? - Hypnagogic hallucination is episodes of seeing and hearing things as one is falling asleep. Hypnagogic hallucinations can occur at sleep onset.
What is visual hallucination? - Visual hallucination is the most common type of hallucination in dementia. Visual hallucinations can start with misinterpretations.
What causes hallucinations? - There are numerous medical and psychiatric causes of hallucinations. Some of the common causes include drugs, stress, sleep deprivation and/or exhaustion.
How is hallucination diagnosed? - Aside from hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, more than one event suggests a person should seek evaluation.
What're the treatments for hallucinations? - Hallucinations that are symptomatic of a mental illness such as schizophrenia should be treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
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