Delusion and Hallucination

Difference Between Delusion and Hallucination

Delusions and hallucinations are the most characteristic symptoms of psychoses, and constitute, in particular, the manifestations of that detachment from reality that has been recognized as one of the distinctive features of the most serious mental disorders. They are two closely intertwined phenomena, but we can often get confused about the correct placement of them in the various mental disorders. In this Psychologyorg article, we tell you the difference between delusion and hallucination.

What is a delusion?

A delusion is an idea or a set of ideas that are not real but are perceived as if they were. Even without having any correspondence with the data of reality, they do not yield to the arguments of the discussion or the denials of experience. These ideas of central importance in the vision of the world of the delusional are inaccessible to people who belong to the same cultural environment. A lucid delusion, in which the subject is calm and present in the reality in which he lives, is usually differentiated from a confused delusion, which arises and is accompanied by an altered state of consciousness.

Delusion and Hallucination

Karl Jaspers distinguishes between delusional ideas and true delusions:

  • The first is at the base of the so-called understandable delusions because they can be traced to psychic contents that somehow justify them, such as a delusion of ruin in a depressive phase or in a special situation, such as imprisonment or social isolation.
  • The latter is at the base of incomprehensible delusions, which for Jaspers are typical of schizophrenia and paranoia.

E. Kretschmer also speaks of a delusional condition regarding paranoid delusions that do not evolve into schizophrenia, but instead crystallize “embedded” in the individual’s personality without further elaboration, or else disappear completely.

The multiple shapes of delusion can be categorized from different points of view, for example, depending on the triggering physiological cause, and the duration of the manifestation; Among the different specifications of the term rage, the subsequent can be noted:

  • delusion of collapse
  • Delusion of influence or delusion of reference
  • Delusion of touching
  • nihilistic delusion
  • dream delusion
  • Professional or occupational delusion
  • residual delusion
  • interpretive delusion
  • delusion of persecution
  • strange delusion
  • delusion of control
  • Insertion delusion
  • Erotomanic delusion or erotomania
  • delusional jealousy
  • Delusions of grandeur or megalomania
  • somatic delusion
  • religious delusion
  • delusion of identity

What is a hallucination?

A hallucination is a perception of something that does not exist and is nevertheless considered real. Said perception, which is involuntary and uncritical, has the characteristics of sensoriality and projection. The most frequent hallucinations are those of the sense organs and, in particular, sight and hearing. To these are added the less frequent and more specialized hallucinations in their configuration.

Delusion and Hallucination

Hallucinations can also be experienced by normal people, such as when one has the sensation of hearing the sound of a doorbell or smelling a burning smell (talked about pseudo-hallucinations), and they are frequent in the waking phase (hypnopompic hallucinations) or in sleep.

According to the sense organs concerned, hallucinations can be subdivided into:

  • acoustic hallucinations
  • visual hallucinations
  • Olfactory and taste hallucinations
  • tactile hallucinations
  • Schema or kinesthetic hallucinations
  • sexual hallucinations
  • motor hallucinations
  • reflex hallucinations
  • extracranial hallucinations negative hallucinations
  • memory hallucinations
  • eidetic images

Differences between delusions and hallucinations

Hallucination, delirium, illusion, fabulation, paranoia…, are they all the same? What is the difference between delusion and hallucination? Let’s see the differences and similarities between delusions and hallucinations:

Hallucination is a perception and delusion is a belief. Both can be part of different clinical pictures, as well as appear for different reasons, but the main difference between delusions and hallucinations is that the latter implies a real perception of a non-existent stimulus, that is, a perceptive act occurs and not a belief or interpretation of something. Said stimulus can be visual, auditory, olfactory, or even gustatory or tactile, and its perception is real by the patient, even if it does not exist, but the misinterpretation of a stimulus that does exist can never be considered hallucination.

In delusions, a stimulus that actually exists is misinterpreted, while in hallucinations a non-existent stimulus is perceived. The delusional, convinced of being followed by evil men, does not see these men even when there are none, rather he recognizes them as unknown passers-by or goes so far as to affirm that they are capable of invisibility.

You can be aware that a hallucination is not real, but you cannot see a delusion as an erroneous thought. In addition, although it is not always true, the person who suffers from hallucinations can become relatively easily convinced that what he sees is not real even if he continues to see it (although this can lead to additional difficulties), while a delusional person will never believe delusions. or false their convictions while maintaining the delirium, is a contradiction. The delusional who does not believe her beliefs are true is clearly in remission.

Read Also: 12 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Health psychologyorg


Q: What is the main difference between delusion and hallucination?

Delusion is a wrong belief, while hallucination is a mistaken perception of sensory incidents.
Delusion: A delusion refers to a fixed false belief that persists despite evidence to the contrary. It involves holding onto an idea or conviction that is not based on reality.
Hallucination: On the other hand, a hallucination is a sensory experience that occurs without any external stimuli. It involves perceiving something that is not actually present in the environment.

Q: What is a delusion?

A: A delusion is a fixed belief or conviction that is not based on reality or evidence. Individuals experiencing delusions firmly hold on to their beliefs despite contradictory evidence. Delusions can be characterized by false beliefs about oneself, others, or the world.

Q: What is a hallucination?

A: A hallucination is a sensory perception that occurs in the absence of any external stimuli. It involves seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting things that are not actually present. Hallucinations are vivid and can be difficult to distinguish from real experiences.

Q: How do delusions and hallucinations differ?

A: Delusions primarily involve false beliefs, while hallucinations involve sensory perceptions that are not based on reality. Delusions are beliefs that persist despite evidence to the contrary, while hallucinations are perceptions that occur without any external stimuli.

Q: Can delusions and hallucinations occur together?

A: Yes, it is possible for delusions and hallucinations to co-occur. In some mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, individuals may experience both delusions and hallucinations simultaneously.

Q: What are some examples of delusions?

A: Examples of delusions include paranoid delusions (believing others are out to harm or persecute), grandiose delusions (believing one has exceptional powers or abilities), and somatic delusions (believing one has a medical condition despite lack of evidence).

Q: What are some examples of hallucinations?

A: Examples of hallucinations include auditory hallucinations (hearing voices or sounds), visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there), tactile hallucinations (feeling sensations on the skin without external cause), olfactory hallucinations (smelling odors that don’t exist), and gustatory hallucinations (tasting things that have no physical presence).

Q: What causes delusions and hallucinations?

A: Delusions and hallucinations can arise from various factors, including mental health conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorders. Substance abuse, certain medications, sleep deprivation, and neurological conditions can also contribute to the development of these experiences.

Q: How are delusions and hallucinations treated?

A: Treatment for delusions and hallucinations depends on the underlying cause. In many cases, antipsychotic medications, psychotherapy, and supportive interventions are used to manage these symptoms. It’s important for individuals experiencing delusions or hallucinations to seek professional help for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Q: Can delusions and hallucinations be cured?

A: While there is no guaranteed cure for delusions or hallucinations, they can be effectively managed with proper treatment and support. With the right interventions, individuals can experience a reduction in symptoms, improved quality of life, and better overall functioning. Ongoing treatment and monitoring may be necessary to maintain stability.

If you want to read more articles similar to the Difference between delusion and hallucination, we recommend that you enter our Mental Disorders category.

Share This Post:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *