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The concept of hallucination It has its origin in the Latin term hallucinatium. It's about the action to be hallucinated or get hallucinated that is to get confused or rave . This verb can also refer to surprise, amaze or dazzle.

The first who knew how to define it was the psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol In 1837, who determined that these were perceptions without an object, this means that there are no elements in the outside world that can really provoke them.

That is to say that a hallucination consists of a subjective feeling that is not anticipated by an impression that influences the senses . In other words, it is a false perception because it does not refer to any specific external physical stimulus but, nevertheless, the person says feel.

The specialists consider that the hallucination is a pseudo-perception . It is not the same as a delusion , since this consists of perceiving stimuli in a distorted way. Hallucinations, experts say, can take place under multiple sensory modalities: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, etc.

As an experience, hallucination is studied by various sciences , as the psychology , the psychiatry and the neurology . The concept is usually mentioned in diseases as the schizophrenia and the epilepsy , in drug use, in mystical and religious experiences, and even in sleep disorders.

In the book "Don Quixote de la Mancha" you can find several moments in which the protagonist is a victim of hallucinations and gives fantastic elements to reality , which he had extracted from the cavalry novels he had previously read voraciously. For him all that happened as he saw it although the giants were nothing but windmills and his beautiful Rocinante was an old and bony horse.

Hallucination and schizophrenia

In schizophrenia the most common way in which hallucinations occur is through voices that refer to the patient giving orders, often hear their own thought that escapes them and sounds outward, so that everyone can hear them.

There are several types of hallucinations, according to the way they affect the person they can be. For most of them there are scientific explanations, however those that lack one are usually explained as paranormal phenomena:

Visuals : More or less clear images, can be flashes, clear or flash scenes or organized appearances. Are the most frequent along with the auditory and usually occur of the obnubilation of consciousness.

Auditory : stimuli that are perceived through hearing, can be whistles, blows, words without apparent meaning or direct phrases with instructions. One of the peculiarities of this type of hallucinations is that the one who suffers them can say exactly in which physical place is the one who speaks to them. It usually occurs in patients with schizophrenia or other chronic condition and the consequences may be that the affected party performs all kinds of harmful actions caused by that state.

Olfactory : they are perceived through smell and usually cause fear, in the case of schizophrenics for example, they can notice the smell of poisonous gases that someone has given off with desires to kill him. Other cases in which they usually appear is in patients with epilepsy or chronic depression.

Touch : Sensations that are perceived through the skin. It occurs, for example, in patients addicted to cocaine during periods of withdrawal, they perceive as if an insect moved above and below their skin. They can be presented as vibrations, electric shocks, sexual sensations or hot or cold winds that brush the body and occur especially in patients with schizophrenia with a chronic state of the disease.

Gustative : they add a diverse flavor to the food they have. In patients with schizophrenia, it is often the case that in fear of being poisoned they feel strange taste in what they ingest. It also usually occurs in epilepsy sufferers .

Somatic : It occurs in individuals with a severe schizophrenia condition and consists of proprioceptive sensations, with pain in the head or body that does not physically exist. This type of hallucination follows zoopathic delirium , which implies the sensation of having an animal inside the organism, patients claim to feel it and know it.

The consequences of a hallucination can be: insecurity and fear , aggression towards oneself, other people or objects, inability to differentiate between what is real and what is the product of imagination, guilt and shame by recognizing hallucinatory experiences, manipulation (evading responsibilities because of “hallucinations”), delusional ideas , among other. It is imperative that those who suffer from them be efficiently treated in order to provide them with security in themselves and in their environment, interrupting the hallucination cycle, taking them to rational terms so that the patient can recognize them and decrease anxiety that they generate.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that among the theories about the cause of hallucinations, the most widespread are those that point deficit in normal brain work and of the synaptic links between the hair cells and those found in the brain stem and in the occipital-temporal lobes. However, beyond this, several studies have shown that hallucinatory situations are frequent a general level. About 10% of individuals experience subtle or mild hallucinations. Even 39% of people have ever experienced severe hallucination.

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