Find out more about Hypnagogic Hallucinations

Hypnagogic Hallucinations Symptoms

Hypnagogic Hallucinations Symptoms

hypnagogic hallucinationsHave you experienced unusual thoughts or sensations while just on the threshold of falling asleep? “Hypnagogia” refers to the transitional state between sleep and wakefulness – this may be the period during falling asleep or during waking up. A number of mental phenomena may occur during this time, including lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations.

Hypnagogic hallucinations can range from harmless to frightening, and they tend to be very vivid. Although these hallucinations are very common, they may be a sign of an underlying medical condition and sometimes require medical treatment or therapy.

What are the symptoms of hypnagogic hallucinations?

Many people experience hypnagogic hallucinations at some point in their lives, and it is usually obvious to the person when it happens. Hallucinations may be visual, auditory, or tactile – they include the person seeing something vivid that is not actually present, hearing a noise that has not occurred, or feeling something touch them when there is nothing there.

There are a number of common hallucination symptoms that represent this mental phenomenon. These hallucinations include:symptom of hypnagogic hallucinations

  • A falling sensation that causes the person to jerk awake
  • Seeing simple forms, such as colored circles or parts of objects
  • Hearing a collection of random sounds, or sounds such as a ringing doorbell, one’s name being spoken, or oneself being criticized by a voice
  • Feeling that the size or location of one’s body parts are changing – your arms and legs may feel like they are growing farther apart, or that your torso is stretching
  • A feeling of levitation
  • Sleep paralysis, which causes the person to be unable to move and is usually associated with terrifying visions

If you experience any of these symptoms or sensations while on the brink of sleep, they are likely the result of hypnagogic hallucinations. They may be frightening or uncomfortable, but they are normal in many people. If a person begins to experience hallucinations at times other than the transition between sleeping and waking, this is much more serious and requires medical attention. Such hallucinations are far more likely to indicate mental illnesses or other diagnosable conditions.

How are hypnagogic hallucinations treated?

Hypnagogic hallucinations are usually no cause for concern. However, they may indicate underlying medical conditions or the need for lifestyle changes. In addition, people who experience frequent episodes of frightening sleep paralysis may want to seek treatment to avoid these episodes.

hypnagogic hallucinations sleep deprivationIf the hallucinations are diagnosed as the normal result of waking or falling asleep, some actions might be recommended to try and reduce their frequency. They can be the result of sleep deprivation or stress, so the patient should try and remove the causes of these conditions to stop experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations.

In rare cases, the doctor may determine that the hallucinations are severe and symptomatic of mental conditions like schizophrenia (75% of schizophrenics report experiencing these hallucinations), depressions, or brain damage. In these cases, the patient may be prescribed treatments such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, brain or ear treatments, or psychotherapy.

Hypnagogic hallucinations can range from merely interesting to horrifying, but they are generally harmless and will decrease in frequency when the person is well-rested and not stressed.

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