- organic hallucinosis
- A term used to denote a syndrome characterized by persistent or recurrent hallucinations occurring in the unclouded mind, attributable to a manifest organic disorder. Organic hallucinosis is believed to occur in the absence of other psychotic symptoms or significant intellectual decline. The hallucinations attributed to it are usually "visual or "auditory in nature, although other types of hallucination may also occur. Eti-ologically, the syndrome is associated with a variety of somatic disorders, including intracranial pathology (due, for example, to a brain tumour, a head injury, neurosyphilis or other infections, epilepsy, or migraine), endocrine diseases (such as hypothyroidy), Huntington's disease, psychoactive substance abuse (including intoxication with alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, or a " hallucinogen), intoxication with therapeutics, and chronic " sensory deprivation (due, for example, to "hearing loss or poor vision, as in " Charles Bonnet syndrome). Despite the clause involving the required absence of intellectual decline, the term is sometimes also applied to hallucinatory states in individuals suffering from Lewy body disease or other types of dementia. The term organic hallucinosis is used by the French psychiatrist Henri Ey (1900-1977) in opposition to the term " psychotic hallucination. In general, it is used to express the suspicion of an etiological relation between the hallucinations in question and some manifest physical condition. Although useful from a clinical point of view, the notion of organic hallucinosis would seem to suffer from various conceptual problems. As the German psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (18831969) points out, "'Organic' implies the morphological, the anatomical and what is physically manifest; 'functional' implies the physiological, what manifests itself only in the form of a happening and in bodily performance, without morphological change. Further, 'organic' implies what has happened irreparably, incurable illness; 'functional' implies the reparable event and a curable illness. The opposition of the two is obviously not absolute. What starts psychogeni-cally and manifests itself functionally can become organic. What is organic can manifest itself in some reparable functional event." In the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ofMental Disorders, the diagnostic category organic hallucinosis entered the third edition, published in 1980, and disappeared during the preparatory phase for the fourth edition. As a nosological category, organic hallucinosis is classified as a specific type of "hallucinosic syndrome.ReferencesAmerican Psychiatric Association (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual ofmental disorders. Third edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Jaspers, K. (1997). Generalpsychopathology. Volume 2. Translated by Hoenig, J., Hamilton, M.W. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.