Hallucinations?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

On rare occasions I will see things that i know are not real, well, maybe for a couple of seconds it startles me, but then it disappears. I very quickly feel like its amazing how my mind can play this trick. but, on one occasion i looked to the sky and saw an “angel”, it was so clear and defined that i had to look away. It was kind of scary. It was not a cloud that resembled, but a defined human body with wings. I dont feel crazy. any advice is appreciated. Doug.

A. Hello Doug. It is possible that nothing serious is occurring because the incidents are rare (though you did not say how rare). On the other hand, I hesitate to say that it is “nothing serious” because it is abnormal to see things that are not there. Generally, hallucinations may be indicative of a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia or complications related to a general medical condition such as dementia. Other medical conditions that may cause hallucinations include Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebrovascular disease, brain tumors, deafness, auditory or visual nerve damage, endocrine disturbances (i.e. hypo- or hyperthyroidism), metabolic disturbances (i.e., blood sugar imbalances), and autoimmune disorders, among others. Drug and alcohol use could also produce hallucinations.

I would recommend being evaluated by a primary care physician, psychiatrist or neurologist. Generally, each of these physicians would likely be attempting to determine whether you have an undiagnosed medical condition. You may be asked to undergo laboratory tests and bloodwork. Being medically evaluated is a very wise idea. It may also bring you peace of mind. Thanks for your question, Doug, and I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Hallucinations?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/19/hallucinations/