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A comparison of visual hallucinations across disorders

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rob DudleyORCiD, Charlotte Aynsworth, Dr Urs Mosimann, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD, David Smailes, Daniel Collerton, Dr Prabitha Urwyler


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© 2018 Research into hallucinations typically regards them as single sensory or unimodal experiences leading to a comparative neglect of co-occurring multi-sensory hallucinations (MSH). People with psychosis who have visual hallucinations (VH) report high rates of hallucinations in other senses (auditory, olfactory, tactile). However, it is not known if this is similar to other groups who report VH. Consequently, this study explored MSH in four different patient groups who all had current VH. Archival data from standardised assessments of visual hallucinations in people with psychosis (n = 22), eye disease (ED) (n = 82), Lewy body Dementia (LBD) (n = 41), and Parkinson's disease (PD) (n = 41) determined the presence of MSH. People with psychosis and visual hallucinations reported significantly higher rates of MSH (auditory, 73%; tactile, 82%; olfactory/gustatory hallucinations, 27%) than the LBD group (auditory, 21%; tactile, 28%; olfactory/gustatory, 6%), ED (auditory, 1%; tactile, 11%; olfactory/gustatory, 0%) and PD patients (auditory, 3%; tactile, 8%; olfactory/gustatory, 3%). Regardless of diagnostic grouping, participants with MSH reported greater conviction that the VH were real, and reported greater distress. People with psychosis with VH report high rates of MSH unlike groups of older adults with VH. These between group differences in MSH prevalence have implications for clinical practice and theory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dudley R, Aynsworth C, Mosimann U, Taylor J-P, Smailes D, Collerton D, McCarthy-Jones S, Urwyler P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychiatry Research

Year: 2019

Volume: 272

Pages: 86-92

Print publication date: 01/02/2019

Online publication date: 08/12/2018

Acceptance date: 07/12/2018

ISSN (print): 0165-1781

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7123

Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.052


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