One in 20 people have once in a lifetime hallucination experience, says study

One in 20 people have once in a lifetime hallucinationAt least one out of twenty people of the normal population has an experience of hallucination throughout their lifetime, reveals a study. The reason for this hallucination is not dreaming, day dreaming, alcohol abuse, drug abuse or any health related issue. Researchers of the study analyzed information gathered from over 31,000 individuals of 18 countries. The participants were interviewed to accomplish a psychic health related survey from none other than World Health Organization. They were questioned on their experience of hearing voices or witnessing things which are not in existence. Participants were also questioned if they experienced mind being controlled by others or somebody followed them.

The research study didn’t include people suffering from psychotic disorder like maniac depression and schizophrenia. These conditions are known to create delusions and hallucination in the mind. As per the study findings, delusions and hallucinations aren’t limited to severe mental illness.

Dr McGrath from Queensland Brain Institute points out how they’ve discovered that healthy people have reported such experiences. There was a commonly accepted belief that people suffering from psychosis had delusions or heard voices, pointed out McGrath. Up to 6% of individuals surveyed over a period of time had the experience of one hallucination throughout their lifetime. The hallucinations were more frequent compared to delusions as five percent is way above compared to one percent of delusion experience.

The researchers mainly referred to those experiences involving disconnection from the reality as the psychotic experiences. For majority of people, the psychotic experiences weren’t regular. One third of those who experiencing hallucination confirmed one time occurrence and the remaining group experienced it up to five times. According to Dr McGrath, there is no need to feel as if something is wrong for people who suffer hallucination one or more times. However, those with daily experiences must seek help as early as possible.

Women had more psychotic experiences compared to the men. Out of all the females surveyed, 6.6% had experience of hallucination compared to 5% in men during some point of time or other. Unmarried and unemployed individuals were more likely to have psychotic experience compared to married and unemployed ones, revealed the study. National Institute of Health states that hallucinations may be quite normal in certain cases. For instance, the passing away of closed ones leads to hearing or viewing them which is likely to be a part of grieving process, believes NIH.

According to clinical psychiatrist Dr Manevitz, there are several medical and psychiatric conditions related to developing delusion and hallucination. Such conditions could be personality disorders, thyroid disorders, brain tumors, obsessive compulsive disorder, epilepsy and post traumatic stress disorder. Women are likely to suffer postpartum psychosis at post childbirth period which may include hallucination, believes Manevitz. He points out that people with such experience should immediately consult a physician and undergo some tests for ruling out the serious health condition. Some individuals may be even unaware of their mental condition. Researchers expressed desire of learning more about the frequency of hallucinations ranging from permanent to temporary among people .

Image credit: Michal Boubin

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