Seeing and hearing things that are not really there are often referred to as a very clear symptom of psychosis. However, a recent study suggests hallucinations are actually more common than we think. Through this recent discovery, we might be able to understand mental health issues more and minimize the stigma around it.
The human mind works in wonderful ways. It is too complex that learning more about it, and its disorders, always pose many challenges especially when it comes to the complexities of how different a person is from another.
Stigma Around Hallucination
There are over 200 classified forms of mental illness. And with the brain’s intricate works, it is not impossible that only a few might have been tapped so far.
Along with mental health problems, including the mere mention of it, brings out common stigma about the issue. Meanwhile, there is also a distinct divide between the more common disorders such as borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia (psychotic disorders) and anxiety and depression (non-psychotic disorders) that are not so understood.
But additionally, it appears one of the most recognizable manifestations of a disorder that separates the two types might not even be too definite. Moreover, people who are not diagnosed with any mental health issue have experienced it, too.
How Common are False Perceptions?
Researchers looked at a study of 7,400 people in the UK where 4.3 percent of them were found to experience a hallucination in their life. The actual data was actually from the 2007 Adult Psychiatry Morbidity survey and was dissected and narrowed down into whether these false perceptions only occur to people with psychosis or not.
The study’s lead researcher, Ian Kelleher from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, says people have a “general idea in psychiatry” where they think having a hallucination is a feature of psychosis. However, after looking at a wide range of mental health problems, it shows hallucinations actually occur even in other disorders that do not associate with psychotic ones.
Moreover, 4 percent of the respondents who was never diagnosed with mental issues reported seeing or hearing things that other people could not. This gives a suggestion that a hallucination can occur to the general population.
At the same time, this study has its limitations. While the number is not too low, the lack of diversity from the respondents from the UK alone is not enough to make a dent in the worldwide demographic for hallucinations. But still, the data could be used for further research on knowing more about the disorder and eliminating taboo around it.