Dementia causes changes in the brain that may cause someone to hallucinate – see, hear, feel, or taste something that isn’t there. Their brain is distorting or misinterpreting the senses. And even if it’s not real, the hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it.
It could be a mental illness called schizophrenia, a nervous system problem like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, or of a number of other things. If you or a loved one has hallucinations, go see a doctor.
Hallucinations are caused by changes in the brain which, if they occur at all, usually happen in the middle or later stages of the dementia journey. Hallucinations are more common in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s dementia but they can also occur in Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Dementia may cause a person to have hallucinations. This is most common in people living with dementia with Lewy bodies, although other types of dementia may also cause hallucinations.
While individuals may hallucinate for a variety of reasons, there are a few common causes that specifically affect the elderly. Seniors who suffer from hallucinations may become easily scared or agitated and should not be left alone.
Dementia can cause hallucinations Dementia causes changes in the brain that may cause someone to hallucinate – see, hear, feel, or taste something that isn’t there. Their brain is distorting or misinterpreting the senses. And even if it’s not real, the hallucination is very real to the person experiencing it.
There are many causes of hallucinations, including: Being drunk or high, or coming down from such drugs like marijuana, LSD, cocaine (including crack), PCP, amphetamines, heroin, ketamine, and alcohol. Delirium or dementia (visual hallucinations are most common)
Remain calm, and try to help the person:
Dementia is the most common cause of visual hallucinations in older adults,10 and they can occur with dementia of any etiology. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and approximately 18% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease experience visual hallucinations.
A number of psychiatric medications such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), and haloperidol (Haldol) have all been associated with causing hallucinations, in addition to zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), ropinirole (Requip), and some seizure medications.
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Help others understand changing behaviors Delusions (firmly held beliefs in things that are not real) may occur in middle- to late-stage Alzheimer’s. Confusion and memory loss — such as the inability to remember certain people or objects — can contribute to these untrue beliefs.
Symptoms of dehydration can include headaches, lethargy and hallucinations. In extreme cases, dehydration may result in death.
Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions. Chest pain, tightness or pressure, or rapid heart rate.