Do I Have Chronic Hallucinatory Disorder?
Chronic hallucinatory disorder is a type of psychosis that is characterized by the hallucinations a person experiences. While schizophrenia and other types of disorders often have other symptoms, chronic hallucinatory disorder can be recognized by it main symptom and lack of other signs of psychosis.
Mainly, chronic hallucinatory disorder is characterized by auditory hallucinations. A person suffering from this disorder may also experience visual or other types of hallucinations, but auditory are the most common. The reason this disorder stands out among other types of psychosis is that patients don’t exhibit memory lapse or confusion the way other psychosis patients do. The recognizable symptoms of chronic hallucinatory disorder are:
- Auditory hallucinations
- Visual hallucinations
- Multiple voices or visual hallucinations
- General awareness of self
- Absence of confusion
- Memory intact
Chronic hallucinatory disorder has a few main causes. The first to describe this disorder, psychiatrist Ballet, believed it to be hereditary, but today we can sometimes link the disorder to a history of drug abuse. Methamphetamine users often have hallucinations that continue even after the drug abuse has stopped, and LSD and PCP abuse causes flashbacks as well (NLM). However, this disorder can occur organically.
How Do I Know If I Have Chronic Hallucinatory Disorder?
Here are some signs that you may be suffering from chronic hallucinatory disorder:
- You see and hear things which are not there.
- You have no other psychotic symptoms (i.e. memory loss, confusion).
- You have a history of drug abuse.
- You are hearing voices that are combative or commanding in nature.
- You are experiencing some other type of hallucination such as:
- Olfactory– smelling strange or pungent smells that are not accounted for
- Gustatory– sensing a taste that is not accounted for
- Tactile– feeling things that are not there, like insects crawling over your skin
- You recognize these behaviors and hallucinations but have no way to account for them.
Dangers of Chronic Hallucinatory Disorder
If you are experiencing hallucinations, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even though chronic hallucinatory is characterized by a mostly healthy mental state aside from the hallucinations themselves, letting yourself remain untreated can cause symptoms to become worse. A study of a woman with chronic hallucinatory disorder, according to the NCBI, describes her as starting with hallucinations and then paranoia setting in. According to the study, when the patient was brought to a medical office after not continuing with follow-ups, “the symptoms had not varied, although the idea of a complot to keep her away from work had become stronger.” It is very important to seek help before the symptoms become worse.
Rational thought tells us that there should be some cause for these hallucinations, so sometimes, people with this disorder look for a cause for the voices they hear or a point of origin instead of looking inward. If you are experiencing any kind of hallucination like the ones described above, you should see a doctor immediately. Although chronic hallucinatory disorder is less severe in its symptoms than other forms of psychosis, it is still a serious matter.