- vital sensations, distortions of
- The German term Vitalempfindung,orvital sensation, was used by the German psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) to denote any bodily sensation that induces awareness of the bodily state. Distortions of these vital sensations are believed to be capable of triggering bizarre somatic phenomena in the border region between *haptic hallucinations, * somatic hallucinations, *body schema illusions, and disturbances ofcoen-esthetic feeling (or * coenesthetic hallucinations, as they are sometimes referred to). As Jaspers wrote, "Reports from patients about their bodily sensations are inexhaustible. They feel turned into stone, dried up, shrunk, tired, empty, hollow or blocked. Sensations such as these cannot but alter the feeling of bodily existence. The patient feels he is a soap-bubble, or that his limbs are made of glass or describes himself in one or other of the countless ways in which patients try to depict their feelings." As noted by Jaspers, it is difficult in such instances - both clinically and conceptually - to discriminate between bodily sensations, hallucinations, and delusional interpretations of the underlying perceptual events.ReferencesJaspers, K. (1997). General psychopathology. Volume 1. Translated by Hoenig, J., Hamilton, M.W. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.