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Schizophrenia: Helping Someone Who Is Hallucinating

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Topic Overview

A hallucination is a perception of something that is not really there. It can involve sight, hearing, taste, smell, and/or touch. For example, you may hear voices that nobody else hears or see something that nobody else sees.

You probably will know if a person is having a hallucination. It may scare you, because you can't see why the person is behaving as he or she is. The person also may be very scared.

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Schizophrenia and Suicide

Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental illness characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including: abnormal thinking loss of contact with reality hallucinations It is strongly linked to an increased risk of suicide attempts and completed suicides. Among people diagnosed with schizophrenia, an estimated 20% to 40% attempt suicide. From 5% to 13% actually complete the act of suicide. Compared to the general population, people with schizophrenia have a...

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Remain calm, and try to help the person:

  • Approach the person quietly while calling his or her name.
  • Ask the person to tell you what is happening. Ask whether he or she is afraid or confused.
  • Tell the person that he or she is having a hallucination and that you do not see or hear what he or she does. But don't argue with the person if he or she can't understand you or doesn't believe you. The person needs to feel that it's okay to talk to you about his or her symptoms.
  • Talk with the person about the experience, and ask whether there is anything you can do to help.
  • Suggest that the person tell the voices to go away. Involving the person in other activities may help.
  • Help the person find ways to handle the hallucinations, such as listening to music or watching TV.
  • Do not hurry the person.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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