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Definition of Hallucination

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hallucination: A profound distortion in a person's perception of reality, typically accompanied by a powerful sense of reality. An hallucination may be a sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there.

The types of hallucinations include:

  • An auditory hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of hearing. Called also paracusia and paracusis.
  • A gustatory hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of taste.
  • A hypnagogic hallucination is a vivid dreamlike hallucination at the onset of sleep.
  • Hypnopompic hallucination is a vivid dreamlike hallucination on awakening.
  • Kinesthetic hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of bodily movement.
  • Lilliputian hallucination is an hallucination in which things, people, or animals seem smaller than they would be in reality.
  • Olfactory hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of smell.
  • Somatic hallucination is an hallucination involving the perception of a physical experience occurring with the body.
  • Tactile hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of touch.
  • Visual hallucination is an hallucination involving the sense of sight.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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