Let’s face it, we’ve all had delusions or heard voices at some point in time – and these are typical forms of hallucination. Though, people in clinical states can’t just turn these sights and sounds off. While some believe that hallucinations are the subconscious trying to speak to us, others in the field consider hallucinations to have a very vile effect. Dr. Ian Hindmarch tells the Voice of Russia about the implications hallucinations can burden us with.
According to popular belief, hallucinations are most commonly associated with seeing and, or, hearing things that aren’t really there. However, according to Dr. Ian Hindmarch, Emeritus Professor of Human Psychopharmacology at the University of Surrey. “... you can get hallucinations in any sensory modality, but you wouldn’t normally refer to them as hallucinations. You can get disturbances of taste, you can get disturbances of smell, etc., any sensory modality can cause hallucinations”.
Though, at least one clinical psychologist views hallucinations as a beautiful aspect of the mind. Dr. Rufus May feels so strongly about inspirational hallucinations because when he was younger he was diagnosed with Hebephrenic schizophrenia. He intuitively felt that his 'visions' were symbolic in some way and could help him grow as a person. Not all practitioners however agree with this interpretation.
“So I don’t think there’s much positive about hallucination, in the clinical sense of course, there is a relationship between the use of hallucinogens, where you just have hallucinations for a short period of time, and creativity. And so, it’s a very difficult balance and I don’t think there is anything positive about a clinical state of hallucination because it’s usually accompanied by disturbed thought,” said Dr. Hindmarch to the Voice of Russia.
It may come as a surprise to some, to know that a young woman on YouTube, who is schizophrenic, has a different story. She explains in one of her videos what her hallucinations look like and how she battles with them throughout the day. Rachel knows what they are and uses logic to differentiate between the world in her own mind and the real one.
Could some hallucinations be a blessing in disguise? That, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder. Some cultures use recreational drugs to help people take meditative mind journeys; while they are forewarned of what they are likely to experience, patients with a clinically diagnosed condition certainly are not.
For some patients, with particularly unstable psychiatric conditions, hallucinations can be a matter of life and death. Take for example the Thai women who allegedly cooked and ate her own two sons, believing, in her hallucinatory state, that they were pigs, as reported by The Sun . Her condition was thought to be clinical and her husband was away from the home at the time getting her prescription refilled. So, although it is an extreme case, it’s actually not too far fetched. The Mental Health Foundation states on its website that those suffering from mental health disorders are 20 times more likely to try and harm themselves than people without.
Whether the people do so because of a hallucinatory state of mind was not specified.
What’s more, marijuana can induce hallucinations, though a high concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is needed. Even though achieving such a high level of intoxication has been so tempting to so many, here is where “Mary Jane” can be a less than comforting mistress;
“There is evidence, with even drugs like cannabis, there was a state which we call here in the United Kingdom, the Katmandu psychosis and this is the days when young people used to travel to places like Katmandu or Nepal to take cannabis which was very very strong cannabis and they smoked a lot of it. And they sort of entered into this world of illusion, where they had perceptual experiences but usually they stay very much in reality and so they smoke the cannabis there and they don’t become hallucinated, they just have these profound perceptual experiences. But if you have enough of them, then of course you lose the capacity to distinguish between the dream if you like, the visual experience and reality. So, it is possible to generate a form of schizophrenia, a form of psychosis where the patient doesn’t know whether they’re in the real world or an imaginary world from excessive use of drugs,” warned Dr. Hindmarch but made clear that they shouldn’t stay in a permanent schizophrenic state from the drugs they had taken.
In any event, hallucinations have become a complex topic which is changing the way we think about our mind-body connection. Clinical states of hallucination pose a threat still and drug users should be cautious about the amount they consume. While we look around our environment, maybe a new object will appear, only in our eyes and no one else’s. In that case, we must decide how to interact with the mirage that stands before us—to ignore or explore is the true question at hand.
Dec 13, 2012 11:29 Moscow Time
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