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are things you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell that seem real but are not. Some hallucinations are temporary. Hallucinations that continue, interfere with daily activities, or worsen may be a sign of a serious medical or mental condition that needs treatment.

Types of hallucinations:

  • Auditory means you hear things, such as music, buzzing, or ringing. You may hear voices even though no one else is in the room. The voices may say negative things about you or tell you to harm yourself or others. You may hear the voice of a loved one who recently passed away.
  • Visual means you see things, such as a person or object that is not real. Flashes of light or shapes are other examples. Another example is an object that is real but looks different to you than it does to others.
  • Tactile means you feel things, such as an object that is not real. You may feel like something is touching you or is crawling on or in your skin. You may also feel that your body is being cut or torn. You may feel like something is in a body part, such as your stomach, even though tests show nothing is there.
  • Olfactory means you smell something that is not real. The smell may make you gag or choke if it is not pleasant. You may smell something good, such as food or flowers. Olfactory hallucinations may be a sign of a serious medical condition that needs treatment, such as a brain tumor.
  • Gustatory means you taste things that are not real. You may taste something even when your mouth is empty. Your food may taste rotten or sour even though others eating the same food think it tastes fine.

Call 911 if you or someone else notices any of the following:

  • You want to harm yourself or someone else.
  • You hear voices telling you to harm yourself or someone else.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You are confused, do not know where you are, or are not making sense when you speak.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your hallucinations worsen or return after treatment.
  • You vomit several times in a row.
  • Your heartbeat or breathing is faster or slower than usual.
  • You have trouble breathing or shortness of breath.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new hallucinations.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


may include any of the following:

  • Medicines may be given to stop the hallucinations, reduce anxiety, or relax your muscles.
  • A behavior therapist may help you recognize and manage hallucinations. He may teach methods such as the talk-through method. You will learn to tell yourself that the hallucination is not real and what to do when it ends.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hallucinations (Ambulatory Care)

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IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

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