|Symptoms of psychosis|
|Changes in behaviour|
A hallucination is when a person experiences a sensation of something that is not objectively present. Hallucinations can occur in all of the senses – hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), smelling (olfactory), touching (tactile) and tasting (gustatory), but the most common hallucinations are auditory. These forms of hallucinations are described briefly below:
- Auditory hallucinations. When sound noises may be heard and may seem louder than normal or the person may hear different sounds such as footsteps or voices. When people hear voices, they sound so real that the person is convinced that they come from outside, e.g. from loudspeakers or from the spirit world. Sometimes the voices seem to be coming from inside the individual. The voices that are heard may be: frightening, threatening or critical; or they may be kind, comforting or neutral. Some voices command a person to do something; comment on what he/she is doing, or may repeat the person's thoughts. Sometimes the person may hear two or more voices having a conversation about them or several voices at once shouting or yelling at them. Voices may order the sufferer to do things and do so with compelling force - hence they are often termed 'command' hallucinations.
- Visual hallucinations. If people experience visual hallucinations they may see things that are not there.
- Olfactory (smelling) and gustatory (tasting) hallucinations. If a person experiences smelling or tasting hallucinations, things may smell or taste as if they are bad, contaminated, or poisoned.
- Tactile (touch) hallucinations. In this kind of hallucination, people feel sensations that have not actually occurred, or experience sensations differently from the way they usually would, e.g. they may feel as though spiders are crawling over their skin, or that they are being touched.