When you hallucinate, you perceive that you are experiencing something that you are not. While most people think of visual hallucinations—seeing images that are not there—you can experience hallucinations with any combination of your five senses: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), olfactory (smelling), gustatory (taste), or tactile (touch).

You can also experience what is known as somatic hallucination. This is when your entire body is affected by the hallucination.


A hallucinogen is a substance that makes you hallucinate. Typically, you hallucinate as the result of entering an altered state of consciousness, such as when taking psychoactive medications or during a manic bipolar episode.

Why Do You Hallucinate?

You hallucinate because your brain activity changes. Scientists believe that this phenomenon could have to do with the part of your brain responsible for managing visual input.

You may hallucinate for many reasons. Some things that may cause you to hallucinate include:

-Taking hallucinogenic medications or psychoactive substances
-Postpartum psychosis
-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
-Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
-Alzheimer’s disease
-Parkinson’s disease
-Lewy body dementia
-Compromised vision or hearing
-Sleep disorders

Hallucinations may occur more frequently than expected. A European study reported over 7% of the population reported hearing voices throughout their life. And another study out of South Africa estimated that 12.7% of the population hallucinates.