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Delusions vs Hallucinations

Though often thought of as similar things, delusions and hallucinations present in very different ways for veterans who are experiencing mental health concerns. In today’s article, we will dive into the differences between delusions vs hallucinations so that you can better understand what you are going through. Moreover, we’ll discuss the treatment options available to veterans who are in need of services to make it through these challenging mental health symptoms.

What’s the Difference Between Hallucination and Delusion?

delusions vs hallucinations

Understanding delusions vs hallucinations begins with breaking both things down. To start, delusions can be defined as beliefs or ideas that a person wholeheartedly believes are true when, in reality, the beliefs are false. Even when provided with evidence or facts about the reality of the situation, the person experiencing a delusion will hold true to their belief. This is the main characteristic of a delusion.

There are a few different types of delusions that are common. Sometimes, delusions are categorized into four specific types. These would be:

  • Bizarre delusion: Believing in something supernatural, otherworldly, or strange. This could present as believing that a monster is trying to catch you.
  • Non-bizarre delusion: Believing in something that is unlikely to actually occur but that exists within the realm of reality. An example of a non-bizarre delusion is thinking that someone is trying to poison you.
  • Mood-congruent delusions: Experiencing delusions specific to periods of depression or mania with certain mental health disorders.
  • Mood-neutral delusions: Delusional thoughts that vary depending on the person but are not triggered or influenced by that person’s present mood.

Some examples of delusions would be believing that you are being watched or spied upon or feeling as though something or someone is out to get you. Other delusions that people might have would be believing that they are much more important or powerful than they truly are (delusions of grandeur). There are many other types of delusions, but the main factor in knowing whether or not you are experiencing a delusion is that it is a belief that goes against reality.

Hallucinations are similar in that they go against reality. However, instead of being a belief or idea, hallucinations are based in the senses. This means that you might see, hear, smell, or even feel something that is not actually there. Hallucinations can be so strong and convincing that you believe they are real, but nobody else would be able to see or experience what you perceive.

Hallucinations are commonly visual, but sometimes they also include other sensations like sound and smell. Feeling or seeing the skin crawl would be a common hallucination. Other types of hallucinations include hearing things that aren’t there, such as music or voices.

One important thing to know when exploring delusions vs hallucinations is that they do not always happen together. You can have delusions without experiencing hallucinations and vice versa. However, in many cases, it is common to have both delusions and hallucinations simultaneously.

Who Gets Hallucinations or Delusions?

There are several causes for delusions and hallucinations. The first is mental health conditions. Some mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and psychosis, often come with delusions and hallucinations as common symptoms. Believing in or experiencing things that aren’t really there is usually the first sign of these mental health conditions.

Some people are at a higher risk for developing mental health conditions like schizophrenia and psychosis. Veterans are one of the high-risk populations. This is especially true if there are other undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorders under the surface. Things like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all increase the likelihood that veterans will also develop other mental health concerns.

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In fact, veterans with PTSD are likely to experience delusions and/or hallucinations. One study shows that veterans with PTSD who also have auditory hallucinations find it harder to get treatment for their mental health because of the severity of the symptoms. Another study states that PTSD symptoms can often overlap with the symptoms of psychosis, which come with delusions and hallucinations. This shows that veterans with PTSD are particularly at risk for experiencing both delusions and hallucinations.

Another factor that can bring about delusions and hallucinations would be abusing drugs or alcohol. Drinking a lot and consuming certain types of dangerous drugs can lead to worsening mental health symptoms. Hallucinations are also frequent side effects of drug overdoses. For veterans, substance use alongside mental health conditions remains a challenging issue to overcome.

Unfortunately, turning to drugs or alcohol to “escape” delusions and hallucinations just creates a vicious cycle. The more you use those substances, the more likely you are to experience delusions or hallucinations. However, if you don’t get the right help for addiction, the withdrawal could also lead to these symptoms. The only real way to get help for mental health and addiction is to seek professional treatment right away.

Treatment for Delusions vs Hallucinations

delusional psychosis

For veterans who are struggling with their mental health on top of an addiction to drugs and alcohol, there are effective treatment options available. In Florida, veteran-focused facilities offer safe detoxification in addition to residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment programs. All of these programs provide unique approaches toward full recovery for veterans.

In treatment, veterans have access to a safe, sober environment. Most importantly, facilities like Heroes’ Mile are made by fellow veterans who understand the struggle of mental health and addiction after serving. This facility made by and for veterans is unique in its recovery opportunities, which include everything from individualized therapy to job readiness training. Further treatment examples are:

Recovery for Veterans in DeLand, Florida

Regardless of all of the differences between delusions vs hallucinations, the main takeaway is that veterans are susceptible to experiencing mental health struggles that could lead to perceiving reality in harmful ways. The best approach to these struggles would be to join a treatment program at Heroes’ Mile. Here, you can receive treatment from and alongside other veterans who know what you’re going through.

For more information on delusions vs hallucinations and how to get help for mental health and addiction as early as today, give our experts a call at 888-838-6692 or complete and submit a confidential contact form. Let the healing process begin with safety, comfort, and support.


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