Chapter

Pharmacological treatment of hallucinations

Julio Sanjuan, Eduardo J. Aguilar and Francesc Artigas

in Hallucinations

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199548590
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199548590.003.0002
Pharmacological treatment of hallucinations

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A significant number of studies exist that consider the pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia as a global disorder. However, to date, very few researchers have considered the use of drugs specifically to treat hallucinations. On the other hand, with the exception of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS; see Aleman & Hoffman, this volume), most clinical trials that involve patients with persistent hallucinations are psychologically oriented and are not based on biology. There are two main reasons for this lack of interest in the pharmacology of hallucinations: 1. Psychiatrists use a categorical diagnostic system instead of a symptom-oriented approach (for more information concerning the symptom-oriented approach, see Aleman & Larøi, 2008). Most research uses instruments such as the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS; Kay et al., 1987) and consequently reports on positive symptoms as a cluster, and not separately on hallucinations. 2. Recent research into new anti-psychotics has focused more on cognitive symptoms and relatively less on psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (Snyder & Murphy, 2008).

In this chapter, we will first summarize the neurochemical basis of hallucinations. Second, we will provide practical guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of hallucinations. Finally, we will suggest future directions in this field.

Chapter.  7895 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry

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