What are Hallucinations Like?

What are Hallucinations Like?
Hallucinations are defined as sensory experiences that appear to be real but are not.


Hallucinations are defined as sensory experiences that appear to be real but are not. These can take the form of visions, sounds, smells, or tactile sensations. This guide will provide an overview of what hallucinations are like, including topics such as different types of hallucinations, causes of hallucinations, how to distinguish reality from imagination, and how to cope with hallucinations. Additionally, we provide information on when to contact a professional for help, valuable resources for those dealing with hallucinations, and endnotes.

At the onset of experiencing hallucinations, it may be overwhelming and scary. It is important to remember that one is not alone in this experience, and resources are available to help. This guide is a great place to start, as it outlines what hallucinations are and provides advice to help cope with and understand them.

What is a Hallucination?

A hallucination is the perception of something that is not actually present. Hallucinations can take many forms, from hearing voices to seeing or feeling something that no one else can perceive. Despite popular belief, it is very common for people to experience hallucinations, although they are often related to mental health issues and drug use.

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    Hallucinations are subjective experiences that are believed to involve the misfiring of nerve signals in the brain. They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as physical illness, sleep deprivation, emotional distress, drugs, and alcohol. The most common types of hallucinations include visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory.

    Different Types of Hallucinations

    Hallucinations are sensory experiences that do not involve any actual stimulus. In other words, they’re not real events or situations. They can involve all the senses, but are most commonly visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory.

    The following are the five main types of hallucinations:

    • Visual: This type of hallucination involves seeing things that aren't actually present, such as people, objects, or lights. These may appear to be real, but they are actually not real.
    • Auditory: This type of hallucination involves hearing things that aren't actually present, such as voices, music, or other noises. These may sound real, but they are not real.
    • Tactile: This type of hallucination involves feeling things that aren't actually present, such as a touch on the skin or a strange crawling sensation. These may feel real, but they are not real.
    • Olfactory: This type of hallucination involves smelling things that aren't actually present, such as strong odors or fragrances. These may smell real, but they are not real.
    • Gustatory: This type of hallucination involves tasting things that aren't actually present, such as food or beverages. These may taste real, but they are not real.

    Visual Hallucinations

    Visual hallucinations are the most common type of hallucination and involve seeing something that is not actually there. These illusions can take on the form of various shapes, sizes, colors and even movement. People who experience visual hallucinations may see people, animals, objects, patterns and other images that are not real.

    These kinds of hallucinations can range from mild to very intense. Common features of visual hallucinations include seeing things that are brighter than usual, objects that seem to move on their own, and colors that are intense and vivid. They may also see distorted shapes and figures that feel almost alive, as if they are interacting with their environment.

    People who experience visual hallucinations frequently report feeling confused or disoriented, as the lines between reality and imagination become blurred. This can cause great distress as it may seem impossible to tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined.

    Auditory Hallucinations

    Auditory hallucinations are when a person hears voices or sounds that other people don't hear. It is sometimes referred to as ‘hearing voices’ and can occur as a regular event or come and go unpredictably. The voices heard may be familiar or unfamiliar, and the message or conversation relayed can either be positive or negative.

    It is important to remember that hearing voices or other sounds is very common, affecting up to 70% of people at least once in their lives. In some cases, it can be hard to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. The only way to identify it as an auditory hallucination is to look out for how the voices sound and if they only occur in certain situations.

    Tactile Hallucinations

    Tactile hallucinations are sensations that give you the feeling of being touched or having something on or under your skin, like bugs crawling on your body even though there is nothing there. These can be triggered by emotions such as fear, dread, or anxiety. Tactile hallucinations can cause uncomfortable feelings and may be recurrent in nature.

    They can often lead to a fear of being touched or an increase in self-mutilating behavior. People who experience tactile hallucinations may also feel like their skin is on fire or that insects are biting them, or other strange sensations.

    Olfactory Hallucinations

    An olfactory hallucination is when someone experiences smells that are not actually present. These smells can range from pleasant to unpleasant and can be described as anything from a flowery scent to a burning odor. People who have olfactory hallucinations may not be able to identify the specific source of their smell. It is important to remember that this type of hallucination is completely harmless.

    Olfactory hallucinations can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical ailments such as sinus infections or head injuries, mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, or drug and alcohol use. People may also experience olfactory hallucinations after a traumatic event, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one. These smells may not be noticed by others, but for the person experiencing them, they can be very strong.

    Other symptoms of olfactory hallucinations can include nausea, headache, dizziness, or confusion. If these symptoms appear with the olfactory hallucinations, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out any underlying illnesses or conditions.

    Gustatory Hallucinations

    Gustatory hallucinations involve experiencing tastes that are not really there. Generally, people describe them as unpleasant, such as the taste of something spoiled or rotten. However, they could also be pleasant, such as tasting chocolate or other sweet treats.

    These types of hallucinations are not common and can often be linked to certain medical conditions such as epilepsy. They could also be caused by certain psychological disorders such as schizophrenia.

    It is important to note that these types of hallucinations usually occur without any visual or auditory cues. For example, you may taste sour milk but not see a glass of milk or hear someone’s voice offering you a sip.

    Causes of Hallucinations

    Hallucinations can be caused by a variety of conditions or experiences. Mental illnesses, brain injuries, sleep deprivation, drug and alcohol use, and schizophrenia are commonly cited as causes of hallucination.

    Mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder can all have symptoms of hallucinations. Brain injury can also cause hallucinations, due to damage to certain areas of the brain. Sleep deprivation can lead to auditory or visual hallucinations, due to exhaustion or lack of REM sleep. Likewise, drug and alcohol consumption can lead to hallucinations, tapping into the brain's natural reward system. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that often results in hallucinations as part of its symptom set.

    Mental Illness

    Mental illness is a broad term used to describe many different mental health disorders. The most common types of mental illness are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders. All of these can cause a person to experience hallucinations.

    Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can cause a person to experience hallucinations. These hallucinations typically involve hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), can also cause hallucinations.

    Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, can also cause a person to experience hallucinations. People with this disorder may hear voices that no one else can hear or see things that no one else can see. They may also have delusional beliefs and out-of-the-ordinary behavior.

    Brain Injury

    When someone experiences a traumatic blow to the head, it can result in damage to the brain. This kind of damage is known as a brain injury, and it can cause a number of physical and cognitive impairments. One of the most common symptoms of a brain injury is hallucinations. Hallucinations can be both auditory (hearing things that aren’t there) and visual (seeing things that aren’t there).

    A person who has sustained a brain injury may begin to suffer from vivid hallucinations, even if they are unaware that it is happening. It is important for people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury to receive help from a medical professional as soon as possible. A physician or psychiatrist can diagnose any underlying mental health issues caused by the brain injury and provide the necessary treatment for these symptoms.

    Sleep Deprivation

    Sleep deprivation can cause a person to experience hallucinations. It is believed that lack of sleep disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, leading to confusion between imagined and real events. Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can lead to major changes in the way the brain processes information. As a result, people may start to perceive reality differently and can even experience auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations.

    For those with chronic sleep deprivation, hallucinations may start to happen spontaneously and without warning. When this occurs, it is important to get help to address the underlying cause, whether it is due to an underlying mental health condition or simply lack of sleep.

    Drug and Alcohol Use

    Drug and alcohol use can also be a cause of hallucinations. The effects of hallucinogenic drugs and heavy alcohol use can cause people to experience hallucinations, usually visual, as well as other sensory distortions. It is important to be aware that the use of these substances can increase the risk of experiencing a hallucination, and it is important to understand the potential risks involved.

    Hallucinations due to substance use are usually temporary but may still be frightening. If someone has been using drugs or drinking heavily, it is important to seek help from a medical professional to detect any underlying mental health issues and to get the necessary help for recovery.


    Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that can cause a range of psychological symptoms. These include periods of delusions or hallucinations, a sense of disconnection from reality, social withdrawal, and changes in behavior and speech patterns.

    When it comes to hallucinations, people with schizophrenia may experience auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations might include hearing voices or noises, and visual hallucinations might include seeing things that are not present. Tactile hallucinations could involve feeling as if something is crawling on the person's skin or clothing, and olfactory and gustatory hallucinations may involve imaginary smells and tastes.

    Hallucinations associated with schizophrenia can be extremely disruptive, and can make it difficult for people to interact with other people or focus on daily activities. It is important to recognize the signs of schizophrenia early, and seek medical help right away. Antipsychotic medications can be used to reduce the intensity and frequency of hallucinations.

    Symptoms of Hallucinations

    Hallucinations can cause people to experience things that aren’t real. They are caused by a variety of factors, including mental illness, brain injury, sleep deprivation, drug use, and other medical conditions. Hallucinations can be very intense and may lead to distress and confusion. The symptoms of hallucinations can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:

    • Vivid imagery – seeing images in your mind that don't exist in reality
    • Unclear speech – hearing voices or sounds that don't exist
    • Physical sensations – feeling things that you can't see or wouldn't usually feel
    • Changes in perceptions – perceiving reality differently, like experiencing an altered sense of time

    These symptoms can be difficult to manage and can lead to deterioration of reality perception. Some people with hallucinations experience confusion between real and imagined events, unrealistic beliefs or feelings, impaired judgment, and fearfulness.

    Vivid Imagery

    Hallucinations are paradoxically both vivid and surreal. They are experiences that make it seem like something that isn’t really there is actually present, and the sensations can range from sights to scents to sounds. Visual hallucinations involve seeing things that aren’t there, such as people, shapes or lights. Whereas an auditory hallucination is hearing voices or sounds that no one else is able to hear.

    While hallucinations can be easily understandable and clear in meaning, they can also be distorted. For example, a person may see someone familiar but the features may be distorted or confused. It is common for people with hallucinations to experience colors, shapes, and sizes that seem larger than life - almost like a dream. People may also see people or objects that are not actually there - such as animals, angels, or alien figures.

    Unclear Speech as a Symptom of Hallucinations

    A common symptom associated with hallucinations is unclear speech. People who experience this form of hallucination may hear voices in their head, but the voices are often muddled or incomprehensible. This can make it difficult to understand what is being said. It is not uncommon for these voices to be very loud and distracting.

    The sound of the voice itself may also be distorted. People may hear a range of tones, including deep, high-pitched, robotic, or shrill. These voices can become overwhelming and disruptive to those experiencing them.

    It is important to note that these voices may sound familiar or unfamiliar. They may seem like someone you know or someone you have never heard of before. These voices may be persistent or they may come and go.

    If you are experiencing unclear speech as a symptom of hallucination, it is important to seek help from a medical professional. They can assess your individual situation and determine the best course of action for treating your symptoms. With the right treatment, it is possible to manage your hallucinations.

    Physical Sensations

    Hallucinations can manifest in physical sensations such as feeling, pressure, warmth, or even feeling something physically touching or moving around you. It is important to know that while these sensations may be very real to the individual experiencing them, they are not actually physically felt by anyone else.

    Physically felt hallucinations can be incredibly disorienting and are often accompanied by changes in body temperature, rapid heart rate, and increased blood pressure. People who experience physical sensations of hallucinations often feel like they are being touched, pushed, or pulled even when nothing is actually happening. This can cause an overwhelming feeling of fear and confusion.

    Changes in Perceptions

    Hallucinations can often lead to changes in one's perceptions. A person may struggle to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. They might hear things that other people can’t hear, or see things that don’t exist. Hallucinations can be frightening or confusing because they can appear to be very real.

    Common types of perception changes associated with hallucinations include:

    • Unrealistic beliefs or feelings
    • Confusion between real and imagined events
    • Impaired judgment
    • Increased fearfulness

    These changes in perceptions can affect a person's ability to interact with their environment in a normal way. It can also affect their decision-making skills, which can lead to dangerous situations.

    Deterioration of Reality Perception

    Hallucinations can disrupt one’s reality perception, leading to an individual experiencing a ‘break’ from reality. This can lead to confusion between reality and the imaginary events being hallucinated. The confusion can cause a person to exhibit unrealistic beliefs or feelings. When the ability to differentiate between real and imagined is impaired, judgment and decision-making can also be affected.

    Fearfulness is extremely common for those experiencing hallucinations, as visions, sounds, smells, and touches could appear without warning. The fear of not knowing if what is being experienced is real or imagined can be debilitating in many cases.

    Confusion as Separating Real and Imagined Events

    Hallucinations can cause confusion when distinguishing between real and imagined events. This confusion can be extremely disorienting and can make it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is being imagined. Sometimes, the person experiencing the hallucinations may not even be sure if their hallucinations are real or not.

    The confusion that occurs with hallucinations can be very disruptive to daily activities. The person may find it difficult to plan and execute tasks, as it is sometimes hard to differentiate which events are real and which are imagined. This can lead to frustration, fear, and/or embarrassment when participating in social settings or trying to complete everyday tasks.

    It is important for those experiencing hallucinations to have a support system of friends and family that understand the disorder and can provide empathy and understanding. Additionally, having a mental health professional to talk to can be beneficial in helping to understand the thoughts, feelings, and emotions associated with the hallucinations.

    Unrealistic Beliefs or Feelings

    Hallucinations can cause people to have unrealistic beliefs or feelings. They may feel disconnected from their environment and unable to relate to the situation around them. For example, a person experiencing a hallucination may hear a voice that is not actually there, and believe it is real even though it does not exist. Hallucinations can also cause people to have false perceptions of danger, leading to fear and anxiety.

    Hallucinations can also cause people to come up with beliefs that are not based on reality. People may interpret what they see or hear in a misinterpreted way, which can lead to feelings of confusion and distress. It is important to remember that these beliefs and feelings are not real, and are simply a symptom of the hallucination itself.

    Impaired Judgment

    Impaired judgment is an effect of hallucinations, and can involve difficulty making decisions or forming important opinions. People who experience hallucinations may find themselves unable to think objectively, as they become convinced of the certainty of their visions and sounds. This can cause them to act out in irrational ways based on what they perceive, leading to dangerous outcomes if left unchecked.

    Impaired judgment can also be a sign of mental health issues, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. When someone experiences episodes of psychosis—including hallucinations—it can impact their sense of reality and lead to impaired judgment. This can have serious repercussions if not addressed appropriately.


    Many who experience hallucinations often feel fearfulness or anxiety. This feeling may be related to being uncertain of reality, the content of their hallucination, or the implications of it. The fear may be present or increase with each hallucinatory experience, making it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not.

    Hallucinations can feel overwhelming, especially if they are vivid or persistent. It can affect an individual’s ability to think clearly and respond in a healthy way to the situation. Furthermore, consistent fearfulness can contribute to a cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors.

    It is important to find ways to break out of this cycle for recovery. Coping strategies such as breathing exercises, positive self-talk, and connecting with supportive people can help with managing fearfulness and responding to hallucinations in healthy ways.

    Treatment Options

    When someone is experiencing hallucinations, it is important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. Treatment options for hallucinations vary based on the underlying cause and may include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills training, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, there are many ways to cope with hallucinations that can help manage symptoms.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping people identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that can lead to hallucinations. This therapy encourages individuals to think differently about their experiences, learn healthier coping techniques, and improve problem-solving skills.

    Social skills training helps people build social competence and interpersonal skills in order to better manage stressors that can trigger hallucinations. This type of therapy teaches individuals how to interact effectively with others, communicate assertively, and form healthy relationships.

    Medication can also reduce symptoms of hallucinations in many cases. Antipsychotics are commonly used to treat delusions and/or hallucinations associated with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and other psychotic disorders, as well as some cases of severe depression. Additionally, medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers can be used to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder that may contribute to hallucinations.

    Finally, making lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding drugs, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help reduce the intensity and frequency of hallucinations. Eating a balanced diet and limiting caffeine intake can also help keep symptoms in check.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel.

    This type of therapy can help people to manage difficult emotions, reduce stress, and gain insight into how their thoughts and actions affect the way they feel. CBT has been found to be an effective form of treatment for hallucinations, as it helps people learn to identify and control maladaptive thoughts and behaviors.

    It focuses on helping people become aware of and modify their negative thought patterns and reactions to situations which may lead to hallucinations. In addition, it teaches coping strategies to deal with stressful or difficult life events, enabling people to better cope with the episodes of hallucination.

    Social Skills Training

    Social skills training, also known as SST, is a type of therapy that helps people learn how to interact with others. It can help those with mental health issues, such as hallucinations, to better understand their environment and to interact with people in a positive manner. Social skills training focuses on improving communication skills, understanding the emotions of oneself and others, and developing effective problem-solving strategies.

    Some of the social skills that can be developed with SST may include: active listening, empathy, assertiveness, emotional awareness, anger management, conflict resolution, decision making, problem solving, setting boundaries, self-esteem building, and team building. With these skills, people can get better at interacting with others, communicating their feelings, and facing challenging situations.

    Social skills training is typically done with one-on-one therapy as well as in groups. During these sessions, individuals can learn more about themselves and others, and can develop methods for dealing with difficult situations. This type of therapy is often used alongside other treatment options such as medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and relapse prevention.


    Medication is often prescribed in combination with other treatment options for individuals experiencing hallucinations. Different types of medications are used to address symptoms depending on the cause and type of hallucinations. For example, antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia while anticonvulsants may be used to address seizures.

    It’s important to understand potential side effects of medications before beginning treatment. Common side effects may include drowsiness, changes in appetite, headaches, and nausea. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding your medication.

    Using Coping Strategies

    Coping strategies are simple techniques that can help individuals manage their hallucinations. These strategies should be tailored to each individual and should be worked out with a mental health professional. Some common coping strategies include:

    • Learning how to recognize warning signs and early triggers of hallucinations.
    • Knowing when it is necessary to take a break or to ask for help.
    • Developing distraction techniques and positive self-talk.
    • Finding ways to relax and using relaxation techniques.
    • Maintaining a balanced lifestyle, including a healthy diet, regular sleep, and exercise.

    By utilizing these coping strategies, individuals can find ways to manage their hallucinations and lead more productive lives.

    Ways to Cope With Hallucinations

    Hallucinations can be a confusing and scary experience for many people, but there are useful ways to cope. Developing healthy habits, creating structure in daily activities, and identifying triggers can all help reduce the frequency and severity of hallucinations.

    Developing healthy habits is an important part of managing your mental health. Eating nutritious food, getting a good night’s sleep, and exercising regularly can help you stay on top of your symptoms. It can also help alleviate stress and anxiety which can intensify the effects of hallucinations.

    Creating structure in daily activities is also beneficial for managing hallucinations. Having a regular routine can help ground you and can give you a sense of control over your mental health. Sticking to a schedule can also help you recognize when something is not quite right and can help reduce the disruption caused by hallucinations.

    Identifying your triggers can also be a useful way to cope with hallucinations. For some people, these triggers can be physical, like certain smells or noises, or can be emotional, like feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Once you know what these triggers are, you can take steps to minimize their effect on your hallucinations.

    Finally, tracking patterns and early warnings can also help you to better manage your hallucinations. Keeping a journal, talking to a therapist, or meditating are all ways to help keep track of your hallucinations and how they affect your daily life. This information can then be used to plan ahead and create strategies to cope with them more effectively.

    Developing Healthy Habits

    In order to help manage hallucinations, developing healthy habits can be beneficial. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating properly, and exercising regularly. These habits can help reduce stress levels and improve your overall mental health. Additionally, it's important to make time for activities you enjoy, such as reading, painting, or taking a leisurely stroll outdoors.

    Eating a balanced diet is particularly important when it comes to managing hallucinations. Eating regular meals with plenty of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals can help give your body the resources it needs to thrive. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also be beneficial, as these substances can interfere with natural sleep cycles and exacerbate symptoms of mental illness.

    Exercising regularly can help reduce stress levels and elevate your mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and remember that activities like yoga and Tai Chi can be just as beneficial as going to the gym. Also, look for free classes or group events in your local area that involve physical activity. This can be a great way to stay active while also making new friends.

    Finally, it's important to take care of yourself emotionally. Spend time with people who are positive and supportive; don't hesitate to reach out for help when needed; and practice relaxation or mindfulness exercises like deep breathing and meditation. These activities can help promote a sense of balance and peace of mind, and provide necessary relief during stressful or difficult times.

    Create Structure in Daily Activities

    When dealing with hallucinations, it is important to have structure in your daily activities. Creating regular routines for yourself can help manage their symptoms and provide consistency. This structure can allow for time to focus on personal wellness, including physical activity, relaxation techniques, and other coping strategies.

    Creating a schedule can help set up expectations for yourself and allow you to become familiar with certain tasks. By creating structure, it can reduce the uncertainty in making decisions. For example, if every morning you take a walk around the block before breakfast then the decision to do that is already made.

    Having daily and weekly goals can also help create a sense of accomplishment which can lead to increased motivation. Goals don’t necessarily need to be big or grandiose, they can be as simple as eat three meals a day, call a friend once a week, or watch a new movie every weekend.

    It’s important to remember that everybody is different and may find different methods helpful. It could take some trial and error to determine what works best for you but, with determination and patience, dividends can be reaped from implementing structure into your life.

    Identifying Triggers

    One of the best ways to cope with hallucinations is to try and identify what may be triggering them. This can help to manage future episodes, and help reduce the frequency or severity of the episodes.

    Triggering factors may be related to internal or external elements, and recognizing these triggers can be difficult. It is important to observe possible triggers including lifestyle factors such as sleep deprivation, and activities that may be causing stress.

    Other triggers may include changes in environment, increased levels of anxiety, lack of social interaction, changes in medication, alcohol and drug use, and reactions to foods.

    Practical Tips

    • Keep a log or diary of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors throughout the day to help identify patterns or triggers.
    • Be aware of potential triggers when engaging in activities that might be associated with a feeling of joy, sadness, or restlessness.
    • Limit the use of drugs and alcohol, as they can exacerbate symptoms.
    • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and practice relaxation techniques.
    • Avoid intense negative emotions or reactions.

    Track Patterns and Early Warnings

    Being able to track the patterns and early warnings signs of hallucinations can be an important part of managing them. It is important to take notes on when the hallucinations occur, if there are any triggers or any changes in your environment that preceded the phenomenon. By taking into consideration all of these factors, patterns can be recognised which can help you to manage any future hallucinations.

    It is also important to recognise the early warning signs in order to prevent the hallucination from occurring. This can include situations such as feeling distressed, feeling overwhelmed, being in a highly stimulating environment or having had a lack of sleep. Paying attention to these warnings can help to alert you to times when you may be more vulnerable to experiencing a hallucination.

    When to Contact a Professional

    It is important to know when to seek professional help regarding hallucinations. It can be difficult to determine when your own coping strategies are not enough and you need professional help. If you are concerned about the frequency or intensity of your hallucinations, consult with a medical or mental health professional.

    Here are some signs that professional assistance is necessary:

    • Hallucinations are occurring more often than usual;
    • You feel scared or overwhelmed by the hallucinations;
    • The hallucinations are preventing you from engaging in day-to-day activities such as work, school, and socializing;
    • The hallucinations cause intense distress;
    • You are engaging in dangerous behaviors as a result of the hallucinations.

    If any of these situations apply to you, it is important to contact a professional for help. A doctor or mental health provider can help you manage your symptoms and reduce the intensity of the hallucinations. Treatment may include talking therapy, medication, relapse prevention, and emergency services, depending on your needs. Talking to a mental health professional can also help you find ways to cope effectively with the hallucinations.

    Talk Therapy

    Talking to a therapist can be an important part of managing hallucinations. A psychologist can help provide strategies to cope with and manage the effects of the hallucinations. During talk therapy, you will be asked to discuss your symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment plan. Through this type of therapy, a patient can learn more about their condition and develop better coping techniques.

    The therapeutic process will involve discussing the experiences that led up to the hallucinations, as well as learning how to develop healthier thought patterns and better ways of coping. Therapists can also help identify any underlying issues, like depression or anxiety, that could be contributing to the hallucinations.

    By working with a therapist, a patient can learn skills to manage the symptoms of their condition and develop better ways of responding to triggers. This type of therapy can help reduce the frequency and intensity of the hallucinations.


    Sometimes, hallucinations can be treated with medication. Depending on the underlying cause of the hallucinations, a doctor will prescribe various medications that act on different areas of the brain responsible for perception and delusions. Some potential medications may include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. It is important to note that medications don't work for everyone, and that treating hallucinations require careful tracking of changes in the patient's symptoms.

    It is always recommended to speak with a medical professional when looking for treatment options. A doctor will be able to evaluate your condition and create a personalized treatment plan for your specific needs. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that changes in medication or dosage should never occur without consulting a doctor.

    Relapse Prevention

    Relapse prevention is important in the treatment of hallucinations, as relapses or repeated episodes can make your condition worse over time. It is important for you to understand the triggers for your hallucinations, so that you can take steps to prevent them. Additionally, it is important to find ways to manage stress and avoid substance use if they are triggers for your hallucinations.

    Your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications and therapy to help you manage your condition and prevent relapses. Medication usually helps to reduce the intensity and frequency of your hallucinations. The doctor may also recommend cognitive behavior therapy or social skills training to help you learn strategies for managing the emotional and psychological distress that comes with hallucinations.

    Developing a plan to recognize and cope with high-risk situations can also help you reduce the likelihood of relapse. Make sure to include any activities that can distract you or help you relax during times of distress. Your doctor may suggest relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness exercises to help you stay in control of your emotions.

    Emergency Services

    In some cases, hallucinations can be so intense or confusing that they can become potentially dangerous for the sufferer. If you are having extreme difficulty coping with your hallucinations, it is important to seek emergency assistance immediately. Emergency services can provide medical and mental health care in order to stabilize you and reduce the risk of harm. It is also important to be honest about your hallucinations to ensure the best care.

    You can contact emergency services by calling 9-1-1 or visiting the nearest emergency department. Pharmacies, health care providers, and local mental health professionals may also be able to provide additional resources in a crisis situation.


    Hallucinations are a frightening and confusing experience, but there are ways to cope with them and help reduce their effects. Having an understanding of what hallucinations are, what can cause them, and what the symptoms are will allow individuals to develop strategies for dealing with the hallucinations. Treatment options such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, medication, and coping strategies can help people manage their hallucinations and lead a healthier life. It is important to contact a professional if you or someone you know is struggling with hallucinations.