Psychotic Behaviors

My purpose for typing today is to share information I found on multiple Internet sites: As part of chronic Parkinson’s disease and its treatment, psychotic behaviors occur in over 50% of patients. These problems include hallucinations (false perceptions), illusions (perceptual errors), , delusional thinking and even suspiciousness and paranoid behaviors.

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What Are Hallucinations?

Hallucinations are when someone sees, hears or feels something that is not actually there. They are best described as deceptions or tricks played by the brain that involve the body’s senses. Hallucinations are not dreams or nightmares. They happen when the person is awake and can occur at any time of day or night.

Types of Hallucinations

  • Visual: Hallucinations in people with PD are usually visual. Common hallucinations include seeing animals or people, such as a furry creature running by or a deceased love one sitting in the room.

Other types of hallucinations: Auditory (hearing), Olefactory (smelling), Tactile (feeling), Gustatory (tasting)

  • Hallucinations are most often a side effect of medication and are not necessarily a sign of a decline in cognitive abilities. Most hallucinations experienced by people with PD are fleeting and non-threatening. However, in some cases hallucinations may become threatening or bothersome.

What Are Illusions?

Illusions are another sensory misperception. Instead of seeing something that isn’t there, people with illusions misinterpret real things in the environment. For example, the clothes in the closet may look like a group of people.

Like visual hallucinations, illusions tend to occur in low light or low visibility situations.

What Are Delusions ?

Delusions are illogical, irrational, dysfunctional views or persistent thoughts that are not based in reality. They are not deliberate and are very real to the person with PD. People with delusions who feel threatened may become argumentative, aggressive, agitated or unsafe.

  • Delusions are less common in PD than visual hallucinations. They affect about eight percent of people with PD.
  • Compared to hallucinations, delusions tend to be more complicated, present a greater risk for behavioral disturbances and safety concerns, are typically more difficult to treat and represent a more obvious deterioration or decline in one’s condition. 

What Is Parinoia?

Paranoia involves intense anxious or fearful feelings and thoughts often related to persecution, threat, or conspiracy. Paranoia occurs in many mental disorders, but is most often present in psychotic disorders.

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