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Clinical Pearls

Hallucination and Delusion

What Is the Difference Between Hallucination and Delusion?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, hallucinations are false “sensory experiences.” Hallucinations are associated with the five senses. A delusion is a fixed, false belief that is inconsistent with the person’s culture.

Types of Hallucinations

  • Auditory: hearing voices that others cannot hear
  • Gustatory: experiencing taste without eating or drinking
  • Olfactory: smelling gas or fragrance that does not exist
  • Visual: seeing people or animals that others do not see
  • Tactile: the false perception of feeling bugs crawling on skin

Types of Delusions

  • Bizarre: phenomenon that is physically impossible
  • Grandiose: exaggerated power, money, knowledge, or fame
  • Thought broadcasting: believing thoughts are heard by others
  • Persecutory: believing one is harassed, conspired against, or assaulted
  • Erotomanic: believing another person has fallen in love with the individual

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Delusions: Glossary of technical terms. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Schizophrenia. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia-booklet-12-201....

Melodie Harris, PhD, APRN, GNP-BC
GPN Taskforce

Related Information:

Clinical Research Corner