It may come as a surprise that hallucinations are a common occurrence. They can happen in healthy individuals just by doing something as simple as drinking coffee or taking the wrong medication. We most often define hallucinations as a perception that isn’t stimulated by an outside factor but has all of the qualities of a real perception.
There are several similar phenomena but are all distinguished from actual hallucinations. For example, dreams happen while we are asleep, illusions feature a distorted perception that doesn’t seem completely real, while pseudohallucination can be immediately recognized as not being real.
Hallucinations can become a problem in certain cases, where people constantly live with long term hallucination disorders that can’t be treated. Of course, they also attract various kinds of stories that may or may not be true. Such is the nature of hallucinations. This is why we will name ten facts about them, but a large number of them might not be able to be logically explained. Let’s begin.
“I See Dead People”
People that lose someone dear to them want nothing more than a chance to see them again. However, if that happens in a hallucination, it can be a frightening experience. It is quite a common occurrence, so much that it even has a name. Scientists refer to these hallucinations as post-bereavement hallucinatory experiences.
These visions can be extremely vivid. It is believed that six out of ten people that lost someone close experience these hallucinations. There are times they can turn out to be comforting, but other times they can point to a person who has post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medicine For Malaria Can Trigger Hallucinations
Taking a medicine called Lariam once a week can prevent Malaria. However, these pills can cause horrible side effects. There are multiple cases of people suffering from severe hallucinations after taking this medicine, sometimes so strongly that they can’t function normally for a while.
Sometimes the effects can last for an extremely long time, and people need to start taking anti-psychotic medication to recover from these side effects fully. It is reported that one out of ten people can have this type of reaction to Lariam.
Hallucinations Can Spread Via Touch
This claim might seem like a stretch, but a real event inspires it. A woman in Oregon continuously called the police because she thought someone was trying to take the roof off her car. However, the police found no one in front of her house and took the woman to a hospital so that she could be checked. She was declared perfectly healthy and taken home.
Typically, the story would end there, but after touching the woman, four more people started having the same hallucination as her, two patients in the hospital, and two police officers. They had nothing in common. It definitely makes you think as there was no explanation ever found for this phenomenon.
The Story Of Dragons
A Dutch woman had hallucinations that were ruining her life ever since she was a child. In her hallucinations, people’s faces would turn into dragon heads whenever she would look at them. The transformation was not sudden either; their faces would begin to elongate, then their ears would grow longer, their skin would turn black, and their eyes would become larger and more colorful.
Her condition drew attention and was recognized as being real and extremely crippling. She lost her job because of it, and eventually, she started to see dragons in other places as well, not just faces. There is a name for this condition: prosopometamorphopsia.
The cause is unknown, but people suffering from it see distorted faces but never was another case so specific as this one involving dragons. Treating her with anti-dementia medicine helped, and she was able to continue living a normal life.
A Simple Experiment Can Cause Hallucinations
There is a quick test that is used to determine if a person is susceptible to hallucinations. It is called the 10-minute test, and it involves merely staring into the face of a person standing in front of you for ten minutes. That’s it.
It was invented by an Italian Psychologist Giovanni Caputo (sounds like a made-up Italian name, right?), when he wanted to test if something so simple could affect the consciousness. It turns out it could - most people started hallucinating, and the faces they were staring at started to deform in certain ways.
The Charles Bonnet Syndrome
This condition is not well known, but it is a unique form of hallucination that can be quite terrifying. A sudden loss of sight most often triggers Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS). Once this happens, people with CBS start seeing entire rooms changing into different locations, various monsters appearing, hallucinations that are extremely vivid and long.
Another thing that makes these visions more frightening is that these new, morphed locations are completely quiet. That is the main reason this disorder is separated from dementia, the complete lack of sound. There is still not enough data about CBS, because a large number of people refuse to admit they suffer from it.
Caffeine Can Trigger Hallucinations
Most people love coffee, right? Well, if you start seeing weird things happening around you while you are on your third cup of the morning, it may be time to slow down a bit. It’s not just coffee; anything with caffeine can cause hallucinations. It is believed that after consuming 315 milligrams of caffeine, the risk of hallucinating becomes three times higher than it was before.
This can be dangerous because most people suffering from hallucinations because of caffeine might not realize that is the reason. This can lead to a feeling of panic when the solution is pretty simple - slow down on your coffee and green tea!
Bullied Children Hallucinate More Often
Let’s get this out of the way - bullying is bad. There are a large number of reasons why we think so, and why you should think so, but now there’s another one we should worry about.
According to research, bullied children have a higher chance of hallucinating. This is especially dangerous because experiencing this so young can lead to a lifetime of struggles with psychotic episodes. It doesn’t even have to be constant bullying, kids that experienced it only a few times were also reported as having hallucinations.
1 In 20 People Have Hallucinations
According to a survey about mental health conducted by the World Health Organization, 1 in 20 people interviewed claimed that they witnessed a hallucination at least once during their lifetime. The survey had a large scale, 31,000 people were interviewed, and although hallucinations weren’t the main topic, this discovery was considered unexpectedly interesting.
The people that said they hallucinated also claimed that they did not use drugs or alcohol, and were completely healthy when they had the hallucination. The fact that this happened in such a large number still has not been explained. However, this helped us stop connecting hallucinations to mental diseases.
How much caffeine is needed to be at risk of hallucinating?
It is believed that after consuming 315 milligrams of caffeine, the risk of hallucinating becomes three times higher than it was before.
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