Delusions and hallucinations are often lumped together when discussing different mental conditions, but they’re not the same. While both delusions and hallucinations alter a person’s perception of reality, these mental illness symptoms are not interchangeable. But when it comes to delusions vs hallucinations, what’s really the difference?
Today, we’re going to review the difference between hallucinations and delusions, and what you should know if you’re experiencing either or both of these symptoms. But before we dive into delusions vs hallucinations, let’s delve into what hallucinations are and review some common examples of hallucinations.
What Are Hallucinations?
Hallucinations are sensory experiences that do not have an external cause. When analyzing delusions vs hallucinations, it’s interesting to note that the causes are similar. For example, both can be caused by medications, substance abuse, or certain health conditions. And while most people think of visual experiences when they think of hallucinations, they can involve any of the body’s senses.
Common Types of Hallucinations
As previously mentioned, hallucinations can involve any of the body’s senses. Below are the most common types of hallucinations, and some examples of what they can be.
- Visual Hallucinations: The most common type of hallucination. Typically, visual hallucinations involve seeing animals or people when there are none around. An example could be seeing a deceased loved one sitting in the room.
- Auditory Hallucinations: Hearing voices, music, or sounds that are not real. Auditory hallucinations are common in people with schizophrenia.
- Olfactory Hallucinations: Smelling something that isn’t really there.
- Tactile Hallucinations: Feeling something touching or crawling on the skin. An example could be feeling bugs crawling on the skin when there are none.
- Gustatory Hallucinations: While rare, gustatory (taste) hallucinations can occur. This type of hallucination involves tasting something in your mouth that has no source.
Causes of Hallucinations
Several conditions can cause hallucinations. The most common being:
- Schizophrenia—more than 70% of people with schizophrenia have visual hallucinations, and nearly 60% experience auditory hallucinations.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Charles Bonnet syndrome
- Borderline personality disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Are Delusions?
Delusions are beliefs that do not match up with reality. While delusional thoughts can often involve things that feel real but aren’t, they are not the same as a hallucination. This is another common misconception in the delusions vs hallucinations conversation.
Someone who is delusional will believe in the delusion very firmly, even when shown evidence to the contrary. This is what marks it as a mental health issue, since a person who is simply wrong can usually be convinced. Importantly, when evaluating a delusion vs hallucination, these beliefs do not reflect external stimuli like seeing or hearing things.
For example, someone who is suffering from dementia may believe that family members are stealing from them, which is a delusion. Or someone living with schizophrenia delusions might believe that they’re being watched by a mysterious third party.
But when examining delusions vs hallucinations, it’s important to remember that each issue comes in many different forms. Below are some common types of delusions and delusional thoughts, along with conditions that can cause them.
Types of Delusions
There are many different types of delusions, all with their causes and characteristics. And when evaluating delusions vs hallucinations, it’s important to recognize the different types. Delusions can be about anything, and they can persist for months at a time without professional mental health treatment.
Some examples of delusions include:
- Persecutory Delusions: Believing that someone or something is out to get them, most often the government
- Delusions of Infidelity: Believing that their partner or spouse is cheating or not being faithful
- Religious Delusions: Delusions involving religious themes or subject matter
- Grandiose Delusions: Beliefs that center around being an important person, like believing that everyone is jealous of you
- Bizarre Delusions: While most delusions can be considered “bizarre,” the word means something different in this context. Bizarre delusions are delusional thoughts that could not be true under normal circumstances. An example could be believing that someone is controlling one’s mind.
Conditions that Cause Delusions
Several conditions can cause delusional thoughts. Some common conditions include:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Delusional psychosis
- Bipolar disorder
Delusions vs Hallucinations: Where to Get Help in Ohio
Whether you’re suffering from delusions or hallucinations, Ridgeview Hospital is here to help. At our treatment center, located in Middle Point, Ohio, we offer our patients world-class care around the clock. We’re well versed in the intricacies of mental illness, and offer a wide range of treatment methods to suit your specific needs.
At Ridgeview Hospital, our adult psychiatric program is designed to be both comprehensive and flexible. This means that we can treat a variety of mental health issues while still being able to accommodate your individual needs. Our mental health professionals understand the ins and outs of delusions vs hallucinations, and they use that information to help you find a treatment plan that works for your unique needs.
We also understand that mental illness can often be accompanied by substance abuse, which is why we offer our patients our dual diagnosis program. In traditional treatment, someone suffering from hallucinations or delusions might struggle to get meaningful addiction treatment, since conventional rehab may not consider mental wellness. But during this program, we can treat the underlying cause of your substance use disorder and help restore your mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, the time to get help is now. For more information about delusions vs hallucinations, contact us at 419-968-2950, or complete this confidential form to contact us online. However you chose to reach out, we’ll be ready to help you start your journey to a healthier, happier life.