Understanding How Hallucinations Affect Your Loved One
Any type of psychotic disorder can be extremely disturbing for families, caregivers, and even friends. The individual suffering from psychosis can seem very far away and out of touch with reality. It can be difficult to relate to this individual or even comfort them. Keep in mind that while you may be experiencing stress, distress, and fear in regards to these hallucinations, the person suffering is probably even more afraid.
In moments where your loved one is experiencing a psychotic disorder, it is important that you monitor them (ensuring that they are not a danger to themselves or others) and reach out for support. If you have questions or concerns about this topic, feel free to send me an email or post below.
There are various types of hallucinations that families, caregivers, and friends should be aware of:
- Visual: These type of hallucinations often entail seeing shadows, seeing silhouettes of people, seeing demons or other frightening images.
- Auditory: Auditory hallucinations are the most common. When a patient or client comes into a psychiatric healthcare facility for evaluation, the most disturbing symptoms are often auditory hallucinations. These types of hallucinations are often the person’s name being called, dogs barking, doors slamming, one or more talking voices, or even sometimes white noise.
- Olfactory: Every human being has what is known as the Olfactory bulb, which is located in the forebrain (the area of the brain behind the forehead) that entails our perception of odors and controls our sense of smell. In cases where psychotic disorders are present, olfactory hallucinations are typical such as smelling smoke or something burning. Some individuals clam they can randomly smell the scent of flowers or cologne.
- Tactile: This type of hallucination has to deal with touch. It often entails feeling pressure on the skin or feeling things crawling on the body.
- Gustatory: These hallucinations have to do with taste. Some individuals state that they can taste poison in their food.
Most of the above hallucinations can also occur in individuals experiencing withdrawal from alcohol and other serious drugs such as methamphetamines known as DT’s (Delirium Tremens). Symptoms of DT’s can be extremely bothersome and frightening for individuals observing the withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may include:
- extreme perceptual disturbance such as seeing rats of mice,
- agitation or autonomic hyperactivity,
- hypertension, fever,
- disorientation, confusion,
- nightmares, and feelings of imminent death
Keep in mind that although rare, children also experience these symptoms in cases involving psychosis or schizophrenia.
If you are dealing with any of these symptoms or have a loved one experiencing them, I encourage you to reach out to a local mental health professional. If you have questions, post them below.
I wish you well