The concept of hallucination has its origin in the Latin term allucinatio. It is the action of being hallucinated or becoming hallucinated, that is, being confused or raving. This verb can also refer to surprise, amaze or dazzle.
The first who knew how to define it was the psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Dominique Esquirol in 1837, who determined that these were objectless perceptions, this means that there are no elements in the outside world that can actually provoke them.
In other words, a hallucination consists of a subjective sensation that is not anticipated by an impression that influences the senses. In other words, it is a false perception because it does not refer to any specific external physical stimulus but that, nevertheless, the person claims to feel.
Specialists consider hallucination to be a pseudo-perception. It is not the same as an illusion, since it consists of perceiving stimuli in a distorted way. Hallucinations, experts say, can take place under multiple sensory modalities: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, etc.
According to DigoPaul, hallucination is studied by various sciences, such as psychology, psychiatry, and neurology. The concept is usually mentioned in diseases such as schizophrenia and epilepsy, in drug use, in mystical and religious experiences, and even in sleep disorders.
In the book “Don Quixote de la Mancha” you can find several moments in which the protagonist is the victim of hallucinations and brings fantastic elements to reality, which he had extracted from the cavalry novels that he had previously read voraciously. For him all this happened as he saw it, although the giants were nothing but windmills and his precious Rocinante was an old and bony horse.
Hallucination and schizophrenia
In schizophrenia the most common way in which hallucinations are presented is through voices that refer to the patient giving orders, many times they hear their own thought that escapes them and sounds outward, so that everyone can hear them.
There are several types of hallucinations, according to how they affect the person can be. For most of them there are scientific explanations, however those that lack one are usually explained as paranormal phenomena:
Visuals: More or less clear images, can be flashes, clear scenes or flash or organized appearances. They are the most frequent together with the auditory ones and they usually follow the clouding of consciousness.
Auditory: stimuli that are perceived through hearing, can be whistles, blows, words without apparent meaning or direct sentences with instructions. One of the peculiarities of this type of hallucination is that the person who suffers from it can tell exactly in which physical place the speaker is. It usually occurs in patients with schizophrenia or another chronic condition and the consequences may be that the affected person performs all kinds of harmful actions caused by that state.
Olfactory: they are perceived through smell and are usually cause for fear, in the case of schizophrenics for example, they can notice the smell of poisonous gases that someone has given off with the desire to kill him. Other cases in which they usually appear is in patients with epilepsy or chronic depression.
Tactile: Sensations that are perceived through the skin. It occurs for example in patients addicted to cocaine during periods of withdrawal, they perceive as if an insect moved above and below its skin. They can appear as vibrations, electrical shocks, sexual sensations or cold or hot winds that brush the body and occur especially in schizophrenia patients with a chronic state of the disease.
Gustatory: they add to the food a different flavor from the one it has. In schizophrenia patients it is often the case that due to the fear of being poisoned they feel a strange taste in what they ingest. It also usually occurs in epilepsy patients.
Somatic: it occurs in individuals with a severe schizophrenia condition and consists of proprioceptive sensations, with pain in the head or body that does not exist physically. From this type of hallucination zoopathic delirium follows, which implies the sensation of having an animal within the organism, the patients claim to feel and know it.
The consequences of a hallucination can be: insecurity and fear, aggression towards oneself, other people or objects, inability to differentiate between what is real and what is the product of the imagination, guilt and shame when recognizing hallucinatory experiences, manipulation (evading responsibilities due to “hallucinations”), delusions, among others. It is essential that those who suffer from them are efficiently treated in order to provide security in themselves and in their environment, interrupt the cycle of hallucinations, taking them to rational terms so that the patient can recognize them and reduce the anxiety they generate..
Finally, it is worth mentioning that among the theories about the cause of hallucinations, the most widespread are those that indicate deficits in normal brain work and synaptic links between hair cells and those found in the brain stem and in the brain stem. the occipital-temporal lobes. However, beyond this, various studies have shown that hallucinatory-type situations are frequent in general. About 10% of individuals experience subtle or mild hallucinations. Even 39% of people have ever experienced severe hallucination.