View Full Version : Psychiatric Illness / Hallucinations

06-26-2008, 06:27 AM
Hi! I'd like to know if there's any psychiatric illness that causes complete hallucinations. Like a whole movie being played inside a person's head, and not just unexitant people or things popping up randomnly into reality. Is there such a thing?

06-26-2008, 06:32 AM
Not sure, but you might be able to get away with referring to it as some kind of unprecedented form of schizophrenia. I'm assuming the character, while this movie is playing, would appear mostly catatonic to the rest of the world?

06-26-2008, 06:52 AM
Yes. Well, actually, the MC of my novel gets glimpses of other's peoples lives when she makes contact with them (either physical contact or eye contact). She, being a practical woman, asks a psychiatrist what kind of illness could be triggering those hallucinations, since she wants to take the right meds to make the visions stop.

06-26-2008, 08:07 AM
Hola DamaNegra,

Check out APA.org - American Psychological Association and do a search for hallucinations and see what comes up. Also, you can head to the library and check out the DSM-IV. It's the psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist bible to diagnosing mental illnesses. Hope this helps. :) Sorry, I would check my dsm, but I'm exhausted right now and will be jumping to bed. Take care.

06-26-2008, 09:33 AM
I hate APA :( stupid citation formats.

06-26-2008, 12:40 PM
What can happen with schizophrenia is a complete distortion of reality. Someone I knew became convinced her professor was in love with her and hitting on her, though he was married. Then he took out a restraining order against her. After that, she started to believe he was getting into her apartment at night, and abusing her while she slept. She added locks and chains. Then she was convinced he could command her telepathically to open the door for her, and if she didn't leave her apartment, he would do horrible things to her.

She called me one night when I was in another city to say he was trying to break down her door. At that point, I didn't know she was delusional, and thought she was under attack, so of course I told her to call 911 and call me back. I didn't hear from her until a few days later, when she told me that the police had taken her into an emergency care facility. She was released a few days later, but discontinued taking the medications prescribed because of the side-effects.

When I met her some weeks later, she appeared well enough, but her delusional belief system was intact. She abandoned the apartment and essentially became homeless. It was disconcerting, because she'd have this delusion along with behaving fairly rationally in other ways.

06-26-2008, 02:09 PM
Hi Dama - I think you may be talking about two different things: hallucinations vs clairvoyance. Hallucinations would not be rooted in reality - as Keyan said, feeling that something which wouldn't be likely was a reality. I also had a schizophrenic friend who'd be convinced his car or house was levitating.

Clairvoyance would be more the ability to see someone's future (or past). Clairvoyance, telepathy, and other mind abilities beyond the normal aren't considered illnesses - more like super powers. I once had a telepathic experience where I was able to see what was going on (with a friend of mine) who was studying on the opposite side of the world. And it was accurate. Spooky, but some people have a lot of ability in the psychic realm (I don't, just once in a while).

To me, what you're asking about sounds more like psychic ability rather than mental illness. Puma

ink wench
06-26-2008, 03:50 PM
I would think you could make schizophrenia work in your case. If the psychiatrist doesn't believe in super powers, that's probably the most logical diagnosis. There are a variety of sub-types, and not everyone fits every diagnosis perfectly. Of course, the psychiatrist might just suspect your character is taking drugs that cause the hallucinations. Keep in mind that if your MC wants drugs to stop it, no reputable psychiatrist is going to just hand them over. If s/he thinks it's schizophrenia the prognosis isn't great. Drugs don't work for everyone. IIRC, it's one of those illnesses where about 1/3 of people will get better with treatment and 1/3 will just continue to get worse, no matter what you do.

06-26-2008, 04:56 PM
Clairvoyance would be more the ability to see someone's future (or past). Clairvoyance, telepathy, and other mind abilities beyond the normal aren't considered illnesses - more like super powers.

I think there's a whole spectrum of opinions concerning what you call "super powers," besides everyone assuming they're real. While some people accept them as real, others see them as a combination of the various well-documented ways that human beings fool themselves with confirmation bias, magical thinking, and so forth.

I don't think most people would categorize them as a mental illness, unless the belief interfered with a person's everyday life or caused them distress (which apparently is the case with DamaNegra's character when she decides to visit a psychiastrist), but that's still a long way from accepting them as part of our shared reality.

To address the original post, I don't know if this would give some insight, but Here's (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=108989) a very long, apparently real-life thread, where a poster with the user-name of Brendy begins:

I am hoping to find people here who don't pretend telepathy isn't real. In my experience almost everyone can do it, but never talks about it out loud. I don't understand why.

After many posts, a few months later, Brendy writes back again:

A thanks goes out to all of you. I am on new medication now and it is working wonderfully. I no longer hear new voices, only the older ones and even they are very diminished.
That's all I wanted to say. Just thanks for be supportive.

This sounds similar to the outcome that DamaNegra's character's hopes for, at the point she visits the psychiatrist. Obviously in a fantasy novel, an author can make the visions be "real" (in the sense that they consistently and reliably convey information the person wouldn't have any other way of knowing) and take it in any different direction.

In that thread, one can see how Brendy definitely believes in what's happening to him/her, to the point that he/she thinks it can be proven in a controlled scientific test, which is why he/she is writing to this particular forum. One can also see the various reactions of other posters, from cruel to helpful, and of course the final outcome as quoted above.

Ditto also to everything Ink Wench said.

Sean D. Schaffer
06-26-2008, 07:44 PM
I know Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations and delusions. I have a neighbor who, though he's a good guy, thinks that all the rich people in the neighborhood around him are looking for him specifically so they can party with him and make him their friend.

This situation becomes even more pronounced when he gets drunk (he's the worst kind of alcoholic -- the kind that won't admit he has a problem). His delusions become ten times worse than they normally would be, and every conversation in which he is not the star attraction, he will try to force to center around himself.

Like I said, the guy is a good man. But the combination of the alcohol abuse and the Schizophrenia, form a real problem. The Schizophrenia is already messing up his way of thinking, but that problem is made far worse by the alcoholism.

I hope this helps you out to an extent, DamaNegra. Best wishes with the manuscript. :)

06-26-2008, 08:38 PM
Thanks! I had initially thought of schizophrenia, but what she's experiencing are not delusions, just visions. As long as I can make her explanation of what's happening confusing enough so that her visions may be confused with delusions, I think I'll be fine.

BTW: Her visions are real, but she's such a practic person she'd never, ever believe in clairvoyance. Even when she later learns that all she's seeing is real, she still believes something's wrong with her brain and it's just an illness that can be cured through the power of medicine.