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Schizophrenia: Helping Someone Who Is Hallucinating

Overview

A hallucination is a perception of something that is not really there. It can involve sight, hearing, taste, smell, and/or touch. For example, you may hear voices that nobody else hears or see something that nobody else sees.

You probably will know if a person with schizophrenia is having a hallucination. It may scare you, because you can't see why the person is behaving as he or she is. The person also may be very scared. Remain calm, and try to help the person.

  • Approach the person quietly while calling his or her name.
  • Ask the person to tell you what is happening.

    Ask whether he or she is afraid or confused.

  • Tell the person that he or she is having a hallucination and that you do not see or hear what he or she does.

    But don't argue with the person if he or she can't understand you or doesn't believe you. The person needs to feel that it's okay to talk to you about his or her symptoms.

  • Talk with the person about the experience.

    Ask whether there is anything you can do to help.

  • Suggest that the person tell the voices to go away.

    Involving the person in other activities may help.

  • Help the person find ways to handle the hallucinations.

    This can include listening to music or watching TV.

  • Do not hurry the person.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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