Have you ever thought that you heard the telephone ringing only to find out it wasn't? Have you ever had the sensation of a bug crawling on you only to realize nothing is there?
If you're like a majority of people across the face of the planet, then you probably said yes to at least one of the questions above. That's because people experience hallucinations like these all the time, oftentimes without even thinking twice about them. But while these hallucinations are mostly harmless to most people, in about 1 percent of the general population, they can indicate a serious mental health condition.
As you may have already guessed, one mental health condition that hallucinations can indicate is schizophrenia. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is classified as a chronic and oftentimes disabling brain disorder that causes a person to perceive reality differently, typically resulting in a combination of disordered behavior and thinking, hallucinations, and delusions.
One of the most common forms of hallucination that schizophrenics often experience is auditory hallucinations such as hearing things that aren't there. They may believe that someone is talking to them or telling them to do something, perhaps even without family or friends realizing this is happening.
A schizophrenic may also see things that aren't there such as people or objects or they may feel something touching them even though there is nothing there. Coupled with auditory hallucinations, this can make it incredibly difficult to tell the difference between reality and what is not. This can have a negative impact on the individual's life as well as those around them.
The third and final hallucination that a person might experience is a delusion. Delusions can manifest in a number of ways such as a person thinking the government is spying on them. Depending on the extent of the delusion, a person may be unable to work, oftentimes requiring them to apply for disability benefits.
Although schizophrenia can meet the SSA definition of a disability, a person would still need to apply in order to receive benefits. If their condition is seriously impacting their life, the process is worth the effort because benefits could provide the stability they need to focus on treatment and living with their condition.