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Diagnosis and Treatment of Hallucinations

 In Addiction

Hallucinations, by definition, are an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. For example, when there is nothing, one may experience visual hallucinations and see a person, lights, an object, etc. This is typically caused by mental health disorders but can also be side effects of medication, physical illnesses, or substance abuse. Hallucinations can be overwhelming and hard to manage on your own. If you experience hallucinations, it is vital to seek help. In some cases, rehabilitation may be beneficial to the recovery process. 

Types and Causes of Hallucinations 

Hallucinations can affect all of a person’s senses. The categories are as follows:

  • Visual hallucinations: affect vision 
  • Olfactory hallucinations: affect the sense of smell 
  • Gustatory hallucinations: affect the sense of taste 
  • Auditory hallucinations: affect hearing 
  • Tactile hallucinations: affect the sense of touch 

Hallucinations Symptoms

  • Feelings in the body (skin crawling or other movements)
  • Hearing sounds or voices (music, people talking, banging, footsteps, etc.)
  • Seeing objects, people, creatures, lights, etc. 
  • Smelling odors 
  • Tasting something 

Causes of Hallucinations

Many factors can be the cause of your hallucinations. Some of these include:

  • Mental health conditions (most common) 
  • Substance abuse is also referred to as drug-induced hallucinations (reasonably common) 
  • Lack of sleep or sleep disorders
  • Brain tumor
  • Medication 
  • Sensory deprivation
  • High fevers 
  • Migraine 
  • Social isolation
  • Seizures 
  • Deafness, blindness, or vision issues 
  • Terminal illnesses 

You will need to work with your medical care provider to see if there may be another underlying cause contributing to your hallucinations. 

Mental Disorders 

The following mental disorders may have hallucinations as a symptom:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder 
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder 
  • Schizoaffective disorder 
  • Schizophrenia

Hallucinations can be terrifying and can potentially lead to dangerous actions. If you are experiencing hallucinations, reach out. Many resource centers help guide you toward the best medical care.  

Diagnosis or Treatment Options for Hallucinations 

The type of treatment received if you or a loved one experiences hallucinations depends on the cause of your hallucinations. Treatment options include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, support groups, and sober-living homes (if caused by substance abuse). In some cases, rehabilitation is best for helping the person develop coping strategies and learn how to maintain stability. If you or a loved one are battling hallucinations, contact a trusted medical professional to discuss what treatment plan is best for you. 

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