Hallucinations are a symptom of many mental health conditions – mainly those that revolve around psychosis – such as Schizophrenia.

Hallucinations can be very distressing episodes to go through. In this article, we take a look at hallucinations.

Hallucinating can be incredibly difficult to experience

What is a hallucination?

A hallucination is best defined as an event where an individual sees, hears, smells, feels, or tastes something that only exists in their mind.

Some people have frequent hallucinations, while others may just have one episode in their life. Regardless of frequency, they are distressing events to go through.

What is an example of a hallucination?

One of the most well-known examples of a hallucination is hearing voices. This is a common symptom in Schizophrenia.

Someone that hears voices may feel compelled to do something, or may be told horrible things by the voices. Hearing voices can be a horrific experience to live with.

The voices are often critical, though in some cases may be complimentary. There have been cases where people report hearing the voices of their relatives that have passed away. However, in the majority of cases, voices are a negative area.

People find that the voices often lead them down a destructive path – urging them to engage in harmful activity. Some people find that the voices criticise everything that an individual does.

This is an example of an auditory hallucination. There are numerous other types of hallucinations – including visual, olfactory, tactile, and gustatory.

Other examples include an individual feeling they have small insects covering their body, or when a person sees an object supposedly moving in a mirror.

What conditions do hallucinations take place in?

Hallucinations are common in a range of mental health conditions. These include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance-Related Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Psychotic Depression
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder

It should be noted that hallucinations also occur in a range of physical health conditions, such as Epilepsy, Glaucoma, insomnia and many others.

What should a person do when they hallucinate?

If a person’s hallucination has happened due to consuming an illicit substance, it is best to just wait for the substance to pass through the body. Normally, medical advice is not needed in this case.

However, if the hallucination takes place without any clear sign, it is very important to seek mental health treatment. You should contact your GP as a matter of urgency.

Research has shown that psychosis is treated most successfully when symptoms are tackled early on [1]. Therefore, this underlines the importance of seeking early treatment.

A GP can help with hallucinations. A diagnosis will likely follow, which can result in treatment being arranged.

Treatment often consists of a type of talking therapy, and medication. There are a range of therapy options available. Antipsychotics are normally used for medicine.


Hallucinations are very difficult to live with. But by seeking treatment, it can help a person to get into a better mental state.

Treatment is available, and can result in an improved quality of life being attained.

See Also


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[1] McGorry, P. D., Killackey, E., & Yung, A. (2008). Early intervention in psychosis: concepts, evidence and future directions. World Psychiatry. 7 (3): p148-156. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002%2Fj.2051-5545.2008.tb00182.x.