Alternate Names : Sensory hallucinations
Hallucinations involve sensing things that aren't there while a person is awake and conscious.
Overview & Considerations
Common hallucinations include:
- Feeling a crawling sensation on the skin
- Hearing voices when no one has spoken
- Seeing patterns, lights, beings, or objects that aren't there
Hallucinations related to smell or taste are rare.
Many recreational drugs, including drugs such as LSD and certain strong types of marijuana, may cause hallucinations. Hallucinations related to these drugs tend to involve seeing things, and may include patterns or haloes around lights. People who have such visual hallucinations after taking drugs usually know that their perception is distorted.
Hearing things (auditory hallucinations) is more common in psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia, although it may sometimes occur with high doses of cocaine, amphetamines, or other stimulants. High doses of stimulant drugs can make you feel as though there are bugs crawling on or just under the skin.
In some cases, hallucinations may be normal. For example, hearing the voice of, or briefly seeing, a loved one who has recently died can be a part of the grieving process.
There are many causes of hallucinations, including:
- Being drunk or high, or coming down from such drugs as marijuana, LSD, cocaine or crack, heroin, and alcohol
- Delirium or dementia
- Fever, especially in children and the elderly
- Sensory problem, such as blindness or deafness
- Severe illness, including liver failure, kidney failure, and brain cancer
- Some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, psychotic depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder