Cenesthetic hallucinations: definition, causes, what to do?

Definition: what is a co-enesthetic hallucination?

Cenesthetic hallucinations, like all forms of hallucinations, are based on wrong perceptions: the people who suffer them perceive unreal intracorporeal information and/or sensations. They are categorized as psychosensory hallucinations. However, they relate rather to the inside of the body: the patients have feeling that part or all of their body has been transformed and/or possessed by an outside force.

When these hallucinations are generalized, patients complain of physical transformations (all limbs become tentacles, for example), or even demonic or animal possession (zoopathy). They may also report levitation or out-of-body experiences. When confined to certain parts of the body, they can be felt as heaviness, elongation of the limbs, irritation or even the absence of any part of the body. Sometimes subjects also have the impression that the size, density, shape or position of one of their limbs has changed. These feelings are usually more disturbing than painful.

What is the difference with tactile hallucinations?

Tactile hallucinations relate to the sensitivity of the skin. Patients may feel tingling, tingling, burning or creeping, cold, etc., which he tries to get rid of by scratching and sometimes drawing blood.

What are the other types of hallucinations?

  • auditory hallucinations. These are the most common hallucinations that, as the name suggests, can result in the perception of more or less clear and continuous sounds, voices or noises.
  • Visual hallucinations. As their name suggests, patients believe that they can distinguish simple images (glowing, colored spots, etc.) or more complex (other individuals, monsters, etc.), more or less terrifying.
  • Smell and taste hallucinations. They may be associated with foul or pleasant smells or tastes, but are less specific than visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • Intrapsychic hallucinations, experienced by patients as an intrusion of the outside world into their own consciousness. They are then convinced that another person, or an entity, has interfered with their consciousness and is influencing them and imposing images and thoughts on them. These hallucinations mainly occur in schizophrenia.

What could be the consequences of such hallucinations?

Cenesthetic hallucinations are disturbing, but they can also change the behavior of the people who are victims of them. crazy speechesisolate themselves and go so far as to make them feel violent actseven to suicideto “break away” from the supposed grip.

Causes: What can cause these hallucinations?

Patients may or may not be aware of their situation. Hallucinations can include: chronic or dailyin the context of certain psychiatric conditions

or certain neurological conditions:

  • encephalitis,
  • epilepsy,
  • chronic diseases (kidney, liver failure, hypercalcemia, etc.),
  • infectious diseases (malaria, syphilis, etc.),
  • neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Charcot’s disease, etc.),
  • etc

But they can also occur cheeky and isolatede.g. after ingesting toxic substances, drugs or alcohol. Anxiety, depression and sleep disorders such as: narcolepsy (the unstoppable need for sleep that can occur at any time), chronic insomnia, or sleep paralysis may also play a role.

The treatment of cenesthetic hallucinations depends on their cause, diagnosed by a sleep physician, neurologist, or psychiatrist.

  • If there are psychiatric causes, antipsychotics (neuroleptics), possibly associated with taking anxiolytics and psychological support are the most effective treatment.
  • If the hallucinations are related to a previously mentioned disease, it is necessary to: take care of the disease under strict supervision.
  • If the hallucinations are caused by medication, the doctor should be informed. will the treatment change.
  • It is also advisable to take care of your sleep hygiene and avoid the use of medicines, alcohol or recreational drugs.

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