Coping With Chronic Hallucinatory Disorder
Chronic hallucinatory disorder can be an unnerving condition, especially since it may lead to the possibility of more severe psychotic disorders. Though it is characterized by the presence of hallucinations and the lack of other psychotic symptoms, chronic hallucinatory disorder is still handled much in the same way that other psychotic disorders are, with a few exceptions.
See a Doctor
It is extremely important to see a doctor once you believe you might have chronic hallucinatory disorder. You will most likely be referred to a therapist and given medication in hopes of curbing the hallucinations. According to the NLM, here is an idea of what might happen in your first office visit or for chronic hallucinatory disorder:
- A psychical examination
- An examination of your medical history
Your doctor may also ask you questions about your hallucinations, such as:
- How long have the hallucinations occurred?
- When do they happen most often?
- Have you been taking any medications?
- Do you use illegal drugs?
- Do you drink alcohol?
Therapy is an essential treatment for this type of disorder. When a person is experiencing chronic hallucinatory disorder, there is a tendency to try and explain or rationalize the hallucinations. Some people even become paranoid over time, attempting to explain voices that they hear as an elaborate plot that someone has made against them. In the case of one patient with this disorder, she unplugged her phone and computer because she thought someone was speaking to her through them (NCBI).
In therapy, coping mechanisms can be taught that allow the person to become less afraid of the hallucinations and more aware of the reasons why they happen. Also, chronic hallucinatory disorder can often be linked with drug abuse history and, according to the NIDA, therapies and counseling, whether individual or in a group “are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.” Therapy can help patients get to the root of the hallucinations, and also remind patients how to cope with them.
The use of anti-psychotic medication on patients with chronic hallucinatory disorder is hit-or-miss. Because the disorder does not display many of the other symptoms of psychosis, sometimes strong anti-psychotics do not work well. There are different possibilities for pharmacological treatment though, and doctors will work with patients to find medications that are beneficial.
Other Important Behaviors
Here are several other important behaviors to exhibit when coping with chronic hallucinatory disorder.
A lack of sleep can sometimes be a trigger for hallucinations, especially if there is another factor at work such as psychosis or drug abuse. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and allow yourself adequate time to rest from the day’s stresses.
Nutrition and Exercise
Eating healthy and exercising have the same effect on the body as sleep: they makes you healthy, happy, and help to clear your mind. Make sure to take care of your body, and you might see a reduction in your hallucinations.
It is important to manage stress during this time. If your job is very stressful and you find you are more likely to hallucinate when stress is involved, try and take some time off or explain that you need to cut back on your hours. Otherwise, just try to keep your stress level as low as possible.