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Hallucinosis: causes and characteristics of this alteration

Hallucinosis: causes and characteristics of this alteration

July 18, 2024

The brain is an extremely complex organ that is responsible for, among many other things, processing all sensory information, that is, controlling everything we perceive around us. But there are certain situations in which our brain plays with these perceptions, leading to the not-known hallucinosis .

People who suffer or at some point have suffered from these hallucinosis, report experiencing a series of visual and / or auditory illusions.

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What is a hallucinosis?

Within this hallucinatory picture, hallucinosis is typical of non-psychiatric diseases, and refers to the state in which a person can experience hallucinations but being fully aware that what he perceives is not real.

The difference with the rest of hallucinations is that, in these cases, the person is able to discern perfectly that they are not real ; being fully able to perceive that something is not working correctly and, consequently, ask for help.

During an episode of hallucinosis the patient is attentive and well oriented, and can even enter and leave this state with complete lucidity, being able to narrate in detail what he is perceiving in hallucinosis at that precise moment.

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Differences between hallucination, pseudo-hallucination and hallucinosis

Besides being able to be both auditory and visual, these three paintings have in common the fact of appearing in an external space and possess the properties of corporeality and objectivity typical of normal perceptions.

However, unlike hallucinations and pseudo hallucinations, those who experience them are aware that it is a hallucination and therefore it does not take long to ask for help .

As for hallucinations and pseudoalucinations, these usually appear in psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia or the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

However, hallucinosis is more typical of diverse diseases such as intoxication, consumption or deprivation of drugs and substances of abuse or the well-known alcoholic hallucinosis. All of them are explained below.

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As detailed above, hallucinosis is not typical of psychiatric disorders, but rather occurs as a consequence of situations of abuse of alcohol, psychoactive substances or drugs; although it may also happen, exceptionally, in some brain disorder .

1. Alcoholic hallucinosis

This type of hallucinosis consists in the perception of an object or phenomenon that is not present at that moment due to an excess of alcohol consumption.

When this happens, the person notices the deception that his mind is infusing him and can associate it as something caused by his state.

The most typical cause of this symptom is related to the sudden elimination of excessive alcoholic habits , so it is usual that these hallucinosis are lived during the withdrawal syndrome.

Patients who manifest this type of hallucinosis caused by alcohol should be treated urgently to try to control the symptoms, because if it does not receive adequate treatment immediately it can be aggravated; thus becoming a delirium tremens.

This syndrome is characterized by being a serious condition that includes dehydration, fever, visual and auditory hallucinations , and that can even lead to death due to acute intoxication.

2. Substances of abuse or psychotropic drugs

Among all the harmful effects that the use and abuse of drugs and psychotropic drugs have both in the body and in the brain, hallucinosis are the most common.

The most common hallucinogenic drugs are:

  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Psilocybin (DMT)
  • Mescaline
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Ecstasy, psilocybin and mescaline are made from certain species of hallucinogenic mushrooms and cactus, while LSD is obtained by synthesizing ergoline and tryptamines in a laboratory setting; being this much more powerful than any of the previous ones.

3. Brain disorders

There are certain brain diseases whose manifestations include episodes of hallucinosis. These disorders can be either neurological, genetic, or caused by brain tumors or injuries. These symptoms vary a lot depending on the patient and the severity of the disease.

Charles Bonnet syndrome or organic hallucinosis

One of the cases in which hallucinosis has an organic cause is in the Charles Bonnet Syndrome, hence it is also known as organic hallucinosis.This name comes from the fact that there is something measurable, measurable or quantifiable that causes this disease.

The Charles Bonnet syndrome is a disease associated with people suffering from visual loss . In these specific cases, patients also present complex visual hallucinations.

This disorder affects people who are mentally healthy but suffer from significant visual loss. These patients experience recurrent visual hallucinations, alive and complex, having as a peculiarity that the characters or perceived objects are smaller than usual .

Since they are hallucinosis and not hallucinations, those who suffer from them know perfectly well that they are not real, and since they are purely visual, they do not affect any other sense.

Those who suffer from Charles Bonnet syndrome can perceive a wide variety of hallucinations. From the most common, as complex colored patterns and people , to animals, plants and animated objects.

Charles Bonnet syndrome is associated with lesions of any segment of the visual pathway, and is usually caused by macular degeneration related to advanced age (AMD) and large visual field defects. These hallucinations usually cease when the patient performs some eye movement.


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