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Hallucinations and their expression through art

Eric Cunningham Dax

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Abstract

Depicting their hallucinations in various forms of art gives patients a way of managing their hallucinatory experiences and doctors useful aids to diagnosis.

Article Extract

Hallucinations are becoming more commonly reported in general practice, occurring in at least one in 20 of the general population. Their increasing frequency is due to the ageing population and the associated sensory losses, and also, in younger people, due to drug taking and psychiatric illness.

Although often nonspecific and mixed, hallucinations can be useful aids to diagnosis, opening up a vast field of research into sleep, dreams, neuropsychiatry and clinical investigation. Their unexpected and strange occurrence is often distressing because of the belief of their association with insanity. Thus people are reluctant to divulge these experiences to relatives, friends, or even their doctors.

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