I’ve been having hallucinations that usually last for only a few seconds or minutes at the most such as smelling, seeing, and hearing things others don’t, feeling like I’m being watched, or someone is touching me. I tend to isolate myself, and it’s hard for me to be close to others. I tend to push them away if they try to get to close. I sometimes have violent or suicidal thoughts… I’ve never attempted either. I’m scared to go to a therapist and talk about it. What are your thoughts?

A. Yes, you should seek help. Your symptoms are concerning and should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

You described experiencing several types of hallucinations, including olfactory hallucinations. Olfactory hallucinations (also known as phantosmia) may indicate a mental health disorder, but these specific types of hallucinations have been linked to temporal lobe epilepsy, seizures, brain tumors, among other medical conditions. Because you are experiencing such symptoms, it would be best to consult a medical doctor, in addition to a mental health professional.

You’re frightened of seeing a therapist, but don’t be. Therapists are helping professionals who dedicate their lives to assisting people in improving their lives. You should meet with a therapist, discuss your symptoms, and inquire about the best form of treatment. If you are not satisfied with his or her opinion, then you can and should seek a second opinion. It’s important to find the right therapist, the one with whom you feel the most comfortable. Finding the right therapist is well worth the effort. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle