Seeing Isn’t Always Believing
Seeing is believing. Or so they say. When you see a woman crossing the street with her recently groomed poodle, do you question if she is actually there? When you hear your mom calling your name from across the apartment, do you question if she is actually calling you? Well, 61% of the Western Hemisphere has the luxury of not questioning reality. However, the other 39% experience hallucinations monthly, weekly, or even daily. (MedicineNet) Hallucinations. What are they? How do we get them? How do we prevent them? All answers unknown to the common person. A hallucination is “a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind, usually manifested as visual or auditory images.” (Dictionary.com) They can come in the form of sight, smell, sound, taste, touch and many more. The three main causes of hallucinations are Alzheimer’s, eye disorders, and schizophrenia. Fifty one million people worldwide or 1.1% of the population over eighteen years old suffer from schizophrenia. (Teeple, Caplan, Stern) Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown in thinking and poor emotional responses. All ethnic groups, men and women are affected equally around the globe. Hallucinations usually being in schizophrenics from ages sixteen to thirty. There is no cure as of today, meaning you experience hallucinations for the rest of your life. Luckily, in the late 1950’s, antipsychotic drugs became a necessity for patients of this illness, not curing, but making their sensations shorter and milder. The only downside to these drugs was the unpleasant side effects that came with them, such as muscle stiffness and tremor. In 1990, clozapine, the first “atypical antipsychotic drug” was introduced in the United States. The risk of movement disorders for this new drug was significantly lower, but there is the potential of a blood disorder, agranulocytosis, loss of white blood...
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Teeple, Ryan C., Jason P. Caplan, and Theodore A. Stern. "What Are Visual Hallucinations?" National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Sept. 0000. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
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Sacks, Oliver W. Hallucinations. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.
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