Hallucinating is the perception that something generated by the mind instead of the environment is real while you’re awake. You might see, hear, feel, smell or taste this uncontrolled mimicking of reality. Hearing voices is the most common hallucinating sensation.
A hallucination occurs because your brain fails to distinguish between external and internal perceptions. This processing failure can be caused by emotional or physical factors, for example:
- extreme fatigue
- aspirin overdose
- certain medication
- sensory deprivation
- serotonin syndrome
- prolonged period of no sleep
- drug dependence withdrawal
- sensory problem ~ blindness, deafness
- malnutrition ~ starvation, hyponatremia, hypocalcemia
- mental illness ~ dementia, schizophrenia, postpartum psychosis
- illicit drug use ~ marijuana, LSD, cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, ketamine, mescaline
- health conditions ~ liver failure, kidney failure, AIDS, brain cancer, brain damage, encephalitis
Hallucinations caused by certain mental illnesses can be treated by antipsychotic medication.