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Updated: Apr 24 2019

Delusions, Hallucinations, Illusions, and Loose Associations

  • Overview
    • Delusions
      • false beliefs firmly maintained in spite of indisputable and obvious proof to the contrary
        • not shared with other members of patient's culture/subculture
      • e.g. thinking the CIA is spying on you
    • Hallucinations
      • perceptions in the absence of external stimuli
      • e.g. hearing sound when no sound is present
    • Illusions
      • misinterpretations of actual external stimuli
      • e.g. hearing the wind blowing and thinking it is a bird chirping
    • Loose associations
      • ideas are presented with illogical or tenuous connections between them
  • Hallucination types
    • Visual hallucinations
      • common in delirium
      • more often a feature of medical rather than psychiatric illness
    • Auditory hallucinations
      • common in schizophrenia
      • more common in psychiatric than medical disease
    • Olfactory hallucinations
      • often occurs as an aura of psychomotor epilepsy or brain tumors
    • Gustatory hallucination
      • rare
    • Tactile hallucinations
      • common in alcohol withdrawal
        • e.g. formication - the sensation of ants crawling on one's skin
      • also seen in cocaine abusers ("cocaine bugs")
    • Hypnagogic hallucination
      • occurs while going to sleep
    • Hypnopompic hallucination
      • occurs while waking from sleep
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