10 unexpected facts about hallucinations

Phantom phone vibrating alert is the most popular hallucination these days. Hallucinations are not necessarily fantastic visions, but any image that occurs without a real external stimulus, including tactile sensations. A study was conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which showed that 90% of students feel the phantom vibration of a mobile phone, which forces them to constantly check if someone is actually calling them. The professor who oversaw the study believes that the reason for this is our excessive attachment to the phone, due to which we begin to feel the device as if it were an extension of our own body.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause hallucinations. PTSD is not always the worst stress that soldiers experienced during the war, but any psychological trauma, any unpleasant experience that was not given due attention at the time. One of the common manifestations of PTSD is sudden flash drives, flashbacks associated with an unworked psychological trauma. Sometimes they turn out to be so bright that a person is convinced that this is actually happening.

Fatigue and solitude can lead to hallucinations. The nature of hallucinations is that the brain confuses what is happening inside with what is happening outside. A person does not have to go crazy or take drugs - it’s just enough to overdo it to create fertile ground for such a “confusion”. Regular lack of sleep and the absence of people nearby who could help you focus reality - and your brain can easily fool you.

Many are positive about hallucinations. The British Journal of Psychiatry conducted a study asking 60 people in the United States, Ghana, and India with schizophrenia about how they tolerate hallucinations. It turned out that the cultural background can influence the attitude of a person with his hallucinations. So, respondents from the USA talked mainly about negative experiences - their hallucinations were associated with unpleasant sensations. And the respondents from India and Ghana, on the contrary, actively interact with their own hallucinations, make contact (calling it friendly) with their visions, and see this as positive rather than negative.

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Peyote, the famous psychotropic cactus sung by Castaneda, is used in religious rituals. On American Indian reservations, peyote, which can cause hallucinations, is officially approved for use. Many are skeptical that religious rituals are the goal, considering this an excuse to justify a “good rest”. But this is a mistake. Indians are poorly resistant to alcohol, dependence on which they can develop rapidly and lead to disastrous consequences. But peyote really was and remains a part of cultural traditions and sacred rites.

Salpa - a hallucinogenic fish - is found in the Mediterranean Sea. True, no one is eager to experiment with a marine inhabitant: those who happened to try fish spoke of an extremely unpleasant effect. Salpa contains hallucinogen, causing nightmarish, painful visions.

The salem witch hunt could have been linked to hallucinogenic substances in bread, says psychologist Linda Kaporael of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA). According to her, in those areas where the arrests were made, a special type of rye bread was popular, the combination of the ingredients of which could produce an effect similar to LSD. Perhaps the Salem witches were only poisoned by a natural hallucinogen.

Migraine causes visual symptoms called a migraine aura. The most typical of them are scotomas, a kind of flicker along the contour of a visible object, “flies in front of the eyes, ” flashes of light. In addition to visual hallucinations, migraine sufferers often hear tinnitus. Both visual and auditory symptoms, as a rule, precede bouts of severe headache.

Alice’s syndrome in Wonderland, or micropsy, is a neurological condition when objects surrounding a person are seen in a greatly reduced size. Changing the dimensions of objects distorts the perception of distance - something seems extremely distant or, conversely, incredibly close. The syndrome is not associated with disorders of the optic nerve, it is only a mental condition. Scientists associate the causes of the syndrome with migraine, epilepsy, Epstein-Barr virus and exposure to various narcotic substances, although the nature of the phenomenon is still not fully understood.

Doppelganger - this is what is commonly called in literature the image of a double that embodies the dark sides of the hero (a typical example is “The Strange Story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”). But the literary term has found a place in medicine. The illusion of a doppelganger is a syndrome when a person cannot understand whether he sees his reflection or some other essence. According to one version, many self-portraits were created by people suffering from the illusion of a doppelganger. It is curious that a similar phenomenon happens to mentally healthy people.

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