I am very glad you wrote to us. You are right. These hallucinations are not “normal”. You have a serious problem that needs to be taken seriously. The cause may be a physical or mental disorder.
Hallucinations can be caused by a number of neurological conditions as well as drugs that target the central nervous system. They can also be a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.
We always look to the medical explanations first. When hallucinations occur without other symptoms of psychosis, they may be a symptom of a seizure disorder or lesions in the brain. Visual hallucinations are also common in people with certain sleep disorders. If you are taking any drugs like an antidepressant or some type of stimulant, the hallucinations may be a side effect.
If medical reasons are ruled out and you also have other symptoms of psychosis, you should be evaluated for possible schizophrenia. Symptoms of schizophrenia are categorized as “positive” or “negative”. Positive symptoms are delusions, hallucinations, and limited or disorganized speech. Negative symptoms include difficulty experiencing and expressing emotion, and inability to start or continue activity that is directed toward a goal. In addition to these symptoms, there may be problems with working memory, logical thinking, and social relationships that make it hard to manage the daily tasks of life.
The good news is that hallucinations can be treated. If the problem is medical, then appropriate medical interventions can solve them. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you can get help from a sleep disorders clinic. If the hallucinations are drug induced, your doctor can change your prescription or your dosage. If the problem is related to illegal drug abuse, a substance abuse clinic can help you manage withdrawal and get clean.
If the problem is psychiatric: Hallucinations usually stop with the use of neurological or antipsychotic medications. Ideally, medication is supported by talk therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the type of psychotherapy that has been found to reduce symptoms and help people manage the distress that is common in people who have schizophrenia.
I’m sorry your parents aren’t taking you seriously. Do share this response with them. The place to start to get help is with your medical doctor. But an appointment will only be useful if you are totally honest about your life style (sleep patterns, drug use if any, diet and exercise) as well as your symptoms. If the doctor thinks you need a psychiatric evaluation, then a referral will be made.
Please follow up. The earlier you get help, the more effective help can be.
I wish you well.