Traduction / Translation: Français

Delusions and hallucinations

Hallucinations and delusions are symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. With hallucinations or delusions, people do not experience things as they really are.

Delusions are false beliefs. Even if you give evidence about something to the person with dementia, she will not change her belief. For example, a person with dementia may have a delusion in which she believes someone else is living in her house when she actually lives alone.

Delusions can also be experienced in the form of paranoid beliefs, or accusing others for things that have not happened. For example, the person with dementia may misplace an item and blame others for stealing it. Some people with dementia may have the delusion that others are “out to get them.” For example, he may believe that his food is being poisoned.

Hallucinations are incorrect perceptions of objects or events involving the senses. They seem real to the person experiencing them but cannot be verified by anyone else. Hallucinations are a false perception that can result in either positive or negative experiences.

Hallucinations experienced by people with dementia can involve any of the senses, but are most often either visual (seeing something that isn’t really there) or auditory (hearing noises or voices that do not actually exist). For example, a visual hallucination could be seeing bugs crawling over the bed that aren’t actually there. Of course, people also make “visual mistakes,” mistaking a housecoat hanging up for a person, for example, because they can’t see the object clearly. This can happen to anyone, and is not considered a hallucination.

Possible causes

Responding to delusions and hallucinations