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Mental Health

Identifying Hallucinations



I was diagnosed as having an acute psychotic episode over last winter. However, I found it difficult to believe that all my experiences were hallucinatory due to the fact they were so sophisticated. I did not discuss them all in detail while I was in hospital being reluctant to damage my employment prospects etc. although the Doctors were aware I was hearing voices.

The nature of my experience was that the voices (a couple of characters) effectively played games with me (they admitted they did this!) pretending to be agents of various bodies, mimicing shouting neighbours and friends and family so that I thought I was being addressed when I was not. I also heard non-verbal noises to support this like cars pulling up outside, a crackle to the voice as if it were coming through a speaker etc.

This went on for some time before I was talked to "in my head" as opposed to perceiving the communications as external and the voices "showed" me how they had wound me up by "replaying" sounds they had used. They made jokes and on one occasion asked me if I wanted to smell chicken before I experienced a chicken smell to prove they had control over my sense of smell.

Although this is all very complex I can see how it was purely a product of my mind and that auditory hallucinations are normal with psychosis - but if this all a product of my mind then I also experienced visual hallucinations. I was told to look outside and saw someone very clearly walking across my garden. Things were said directly to my face by friends that were later denied - so if not said I must have overwritten what they actually said with a combined auditory and visual hallucination. I was told things had been planted in my bag, and were - which means I must have put them in myself but effectively blocked the memory.

Of course in the early stages I thought I might be a victim of gang stalking and of course there are plenty of websites that discuss state of mind control and neurophones but I am very sceptical about these conspiracy theories.

Basically, I am looking for confirmation that it is possible to have a psychotic experience of this level of complexity. If not, I will have to start wearing an aluminium hat!



I agree with you that your psychotic experience was very complex and confusing. I do not know what else it may be (a complex conspiracy would be very unlikely as you point out). Even though your experience was not entirely typical, I would direct you to the movie A Beautiful Mind where the main character experiences some similar things that you describe (and, as you may know the movie was based on a true story).

I would definitely recommend that you consult with a neurologist in addition to seeing a psychiatrist. The etiology of your episode is unclear and may be brought on by a neurological syndrome.

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Radu   Saveanu, MD Radu Saveanu, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University