Hallucinations

Possible Causes

A hallucination is the perception of something that is not really present in the environment, as opposed to an illusion, which is the misinterpretation of something that is present. For example, seeing a cat where there is nothing is a hallucination, but mistaking your coat rack for a person is an illusion.

Possible Cause #1: A frequent cause of hallucinations is lack of sleep. I knew a man who had serious hallucinations that turned out were mainly caused by addiction to computer games. He played till the small hours of the morning, and still had to get up to go to work. It was his family, not the doctors, who worked this out.

“Depending on the length of sleep deprivation, approximately 80% of normal people in the population will eventually have hallucinations. Most of these are visual hallucinations. In contrast, people with schizophrenia often have auditory hallucinations, hearing things that are not there.

Sleep deprivation can actually cause other symptoms that mimic mental illness, such as disorientation and paranoid thoughts. In fact, one study found that 2% of 350 people who were sleep deprived for 112 hours experienced temporary conditions that were similar to acute paranoid schizophrenia.

Fortunately, these symptoms resolve when adequate sleep is obtained”. (1)

There is much more to sleep than most people realize. Please read this article to learn more.

Possible Cause #2: Caffeine is another possible cause of hallucinations, probably partly because caffeine causes lack of deep sleep, and sucks out your vitamins and minerals. Even one cup of coffee or soda, let alone a so-called ‘energy drink’, can do this:

“Double-shot lovers take note—the world’s most popular psychoactive drug may have a disturbing hidden effect on some of its habitual users.

Heavy drinkers of coffee, tea, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages are more likely to hallucinate, hear imaginary voices, and even sense the presence of deceased people, a new study suggests.

Among the 200 test subjects, those who consumed the equivalent of seven cups of coffee a day were found to be three times more likely to have hallucinatory experiences than those who consumed less than a single cup a day.” (2)

Caffeine does not give you energy. It’s a drug that puts your body into stress. To do this, it steals energy from your reserves. But if this continues forever, as with most people, anything can happen. For more information, read my article “Caffeine Kills“.

References

1) http://sleepdisorders.about.com/od/causesofsleepdisorder1/a/Can-Sleep-Deprivation-Cause-Hallucinations.htm

2) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/01/090114-caffeine-hallucinations.html

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