Hallucination: types, causes, and symptoms of hallucination

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Hallucination is well defined as “perception, realization of a nonexistent fictitious object or an event”. Another explanation is “sensory experiences that are not caused by stimulation of the admissible sensory organs”. The hallucination involves your sensory organs such as hearing, feeling, smelling, or even your tasting that appear to be real but are created within your mind. Although auditory hallucinations or hearing other sounds are the most common type of hallucination that has no physical source.

Hallucinations can be highlighted as a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia (mental disorder that affects a personality), while an individual who is severely ill can experience hallucinations. High-grade fever also causes hallucination and it may cause other psychotic problems named as delusions and illusions. Hallucination might be temporary or over a long time period depending on the type of hallucination.

What happens with your brain when you hallucinate?

If you hallucinate, you might experience voices, illusion in your head and assume the objects that aren’t there but you don’t have schizophrenia or take lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to have a hallucination, and they don’t always have to be terrible or scary. Hallucinations are actually equitably common. According to previous studies, Professor John McGrath (from Queensland Brain Institute) suggested that nearly 1 into 20 of our population report the perception of objects, hearing horrible and terrible voices.

Basically, hallucination is a false perception of your mind and it may happen with the entire range of senses and your brain starts assuming the objects and making the different puzzling behavior which is not detected by your electric impulse or sensory neurons, suddenly you behave negatively with voice and hearing perceptions around you. 

Normally the brain is good at distinguishing and discriminating between a sound or images that is happening in the outside world, and it is just a product of our mind but occasionally something can go amiss.

One paramount theory is that hallucinations are caused when something goes inaccurate in the relationship between the frontal lobe and the sensory cortex in your brain.

For example, previous research suggests auditory hallucinations happening by people with schizophrenia and it involves an overactive auditory cortex (the part of the brain which is responsible for producing  sound processes)

Correspondingly, people with Parkinson’s disease experience an overactive visual cortex, and results in images generated in their brains that aren’t actually there.

What are the different types of Hallucinations?

As you know hallucination is the perception of something you’ll see, hear, feel, touch, or smell but it’s not really there. A hallucination occurs through any five senses or it can also happen due to the influence of any drugs. These are, 

1. Visual Hallucinations

Visual hallucination is included what you see around you, an individual sees the things that do not exist in actual.

Mostly people who use halogenic drugs (that cause hallucination, delusion) they may experience face illusion and this psychosis issues are:

  • Colors appearing more impressive, vivid, or evocative.
  • Seeing halos around the objects.
  • Visualize the object differently in your peripheral vision.
  • Seeing wall appears as dispersing light.
  • Experiencing optical illusions is more enhancing or clear.
  • Assume faces are looking artificial or made up of plastic, clay, or other animated perceptions.
  • Visualize different bright colored patterns that had not been apparent before.
  • Seeing the objects or horror faces that are not really there or not seeing before. 
  • Visual hallucinations can be pleasurable or unpleasant. 

3. Tactile Hallucinations

Tactile hallucination refers to a person’s perception that they are being touched when they are not there.

Tactile hallucinations are most common in those people who are high on psychoactive drugs (chemical substances that affect your nervous system and alter the changes) and they often complain of bugs creeping or crawling over the skin. 

Crystal meth is scandalized for producing a tactile and it feels so real pleasant, they scratch or prick holes in their skins for removing the perception of crawling bugs over the skin. This leads to sores, scars or infections. 

2. Auditory Hallucinations

Auditory hallucinations can range from mild to severe depending on what you hear to hearing voices when no one is speaking. Auditory hallucination recognized bipolar disorders. Auditory hallucination is a common type of hallucination and the people who experienced this; they hear the voice talking with them and they also hear the whistling or hissing sounds. The voices may be saying complimentary. The voices may be quiet or loud.

Auditory hallucinations are the most common type of hallucination experienced by people dealing with schizophrenia. Distortions to sounds and the intensity of auditory experiences, such as listening to music, are common on hallucinogenic drugs.

4. Olfactory Hallucinations

Olfactory hallucination involves that someone smells but that is not in actual because no one is present there. This type of hallucination involves smelling odors that do not exist in real life and it is also called phantosmia. Olfactory hallucination damages the neurological function. Like other types of hallucination olfactory can be agitated or trouble the person whenever they overlap with delusion. 

5. Gustatory hallucination

These hallucinations refer to tastes that cause a person to relish something that is not present in actuality. This type of hallucination might agitate the person.

6. General somatic hallucination

This type of hallucination refers to when a person experiences a feeling their body gets seriously hurt through mutilation, disfigurement, or disembowelment and they also experience animals trying to invade or seized their bodies, such as snakes crawling into their stomach, bugs creeping entire skin.

Causes of Hallucinations

Hallucination is not only caused by schizophrenia, delusion or bipolar disorders, while they also occur various causes, these are:


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder with illogical thoughts. More than 70% of people with schizophrenia get visual hallucinations, and remaining experienced auditory hallucinations, while some may also smell and taste things that aren’t there.

Parkinson’s disease

It is the nervous system disorder that affects your brain. Most people who have suffered with this condition sometimes see things that aren’t there.

Alzheimer’s disease

This is an irreversible brain disorder that destroys your memory and learning skills slowly or gradually, and brings hallucinations.  


Migraine refers to a severe type of headache that lasts for weeks to months accompanied by nausea or vomiting. This kind of headache also has an “aura,” a type of visual hallucination that occurs when electrical activity across the cortex of visualization and patients experience a multicolored crescent of light.

Brain tumor

Severe disorder of collection or mass of abnormal functioning cells in your brain and it can cause different types of hallucinations and patient may experience perception of visualization, seeing Epilepsy: Neurological disorder recognized by loss of consciousness, seizures, convulsions, and sensory disturbance and it may go along with hallucinations. The type of hallucination depends on which part of your brain the seizure affects.

Hallucinations with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder also named as manic depression (altered level of moods with high and low depression and changes in sleep, energy, thinking ability). People with bipolar disorder can have felt overly happy, more energetic, and other periods of feeling refers to sadness, hopelessness. This altered level of felt involved with impulsive decision making.

Bipolar disorder associated with hallucination, and delusion. Often people with bipolar disorder are diagnosed with schizophrenia because of the same psychotic symptoms. Hallucination with bipolar disorder is categorized into two types. In bipolar disorder type-I, may have experienced both mania and depression, while in bipolar disorder type-II, hallucination occurs only during the depression.

What is the difference between hallucinations and delusions?


Hallucination: Hallucination is a false perception in the absence of stimulants and this perception is based on your senses (noise, smell, sight, in conscious or wake state).

Delusion: Delusion is well defined as false belief which we used in our everyday languages and this belief might be pathological.


Hallucination: Hallucination is caused by schizophrenia, Parkinson’s diseases, LSD, sleep deprivation, neural abnormality, and so on.

Delusion: Delusion is caused by anorexia nervosa, dementia, hypochondriasis, delirium, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Hallucination: Common example of hallucination include:

  • Seeing lights or puzzling pattern
  • Crawling of bugs over the skin
  • Hearing terrible sound that is not in actual
  • Sensation of floating 

Delusion: Common example of delusion is,

  • Persecutory: In which person believes someone is mistreating them.
  • Jealous: In this an individual belief partner, our family is being unfaithful.
  • Bizarre: In this delusion an individual believes they are true but aren’t.
  • Somatic: An individual believes that they are sick and disable to do anything.

Can hallucinations be treated?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients with different types of hallucinations. The treatment usually begins with physical examination and past history of the patient to determine any medical condition, or any mishap of their life which disturbs him continuously. 

A combination of medicine and psychiatric counseling or care is necessary to treat the patient. Usually hallucination is treated with antipsychotic medication and brief counseling of patients, while in some cases may be resistant to treat hallucination. The main treatment of hallucination is CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and these are:

1. Engage the patient

You should engage with your patient by showing great interest and ask them a few questions in a very well behaved and polite manner: 

  • When did the voices start?  
  • Where are the voices coming from? 
  • Can you bring them this voice or stop them? 
  • What are you seeing?
  • What type of faces do you assume in your perception? 
  • Do they tell you to do things? What happens when you ignore them?”

2. Normalize the hallucination

You may be listed scientifically believable, credible, and plausible. You may ask, what are the reasons for hearing voices? and why are you seeing this face? Have you experienced a horrible past?  Including sleep deprivation, isolation, dehydration, starvation, extreme stress, strong thoughts or emotions, and drug/alcohol use.

Patients often agree with several explanations and start to question their delusional interpretations and clarification. 

Your list should include the possibility that the voices are real, the appearance of faces is actual, but only if the patient initially believes this.

 3. Suggest coping strategies

 You may suggest coping strategies, such as:

  • Murmuring or singing a song several of times
  • Listening to music or voices
  • Reading (forwards and backward)
  • Talking with other
  • Exercises
  • Just ignoring the voices
  • Medication (It is important to include).

If a patient hears command hallucinations, assess them, and decide whether he or she is likely to act on them before the starting CBT.

4. Use in-session voices to teach coping strategies

Ask the patient to murmur a song with you (the song “Happy Birthday” works well). If it is unsuccessful, then you may try reading a paragraph together forwards or backward. If the voices or assumptions stop (even for 2 minutes), tell the patient that he or she has started to control them. And guide the patient that is practicing these exercises at home and notice if the voices or assumption of faces stop for longer periods.

5. Briefly explain the neurology behind the voices:

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans have shown that auditory hallucinations activate in brain areas to regulate hearing and speaking, suggesting the patient talk or think to themselves while hearing voices.

When patients ask you, why they hear strange voices or seeing horrible faces, explain that many voices or irrelevant faces are buried inside our memory. When patients hear voices and see patterns on the wall, the brain’s speech, hearing, and memory centers interact.

Before you leave!

Hallucination is a false perception of your brain which continuously chases you and disturbs your daily life. To avoid and get rid of hallucinations you should be concerned with physiatric. Hallucination is not always intruding, and scary even in the condition of schizophrenia. According to previous research, 70% of healthy people experiencing hallucination when they are falling asleep includes hearing their name continuously. In the past 100 years, we consider hallucination is alike with schizophrenia but a couple of years investigating hallucination is outside of schizophrenia.