fasting-induced hallucination

   A term used to denote a hallucination evoked or facilitated by fasting. A conceptual distinction can be made between fasting for dietary reasons, anorexic fasting, forced fasting, and ritualistic fasting. In any case, fasting is a powerful mechanism that can facilitate the mediation ofa hallucinatory state, especially in combination with other facilitating mechanisms such as * sleep deprivation, isolation, * sensory deprivation, and the use of laxatives. The pathophysiological mechanism underlying fasting-induced hallucinations is basically unknown. However, it has been suggested that a fasting-induced hyperexcitation of the dopaminergic system may play a part in their mediation. Fasting-induced religious, mystical, and hallucinatory experiences have been reported since ancient times. Conversely, fasting and food refusal (i.e. sitophobia) are sometimes attributed to the influence of * imperative hallucinations, usually of an auditory nature, which forbid the individual to eat or warn him or her that the food is poisoned or unclean. For example, * visual hallucinations involving snakes or eyes seen by the affected individuals in the meals offered to them have been reported. In addition, it is known that * olfactory and * gustatory hallucinations may convince the affected individual that food is not to be trusted. It is not inconceivable that in such cases the ensuing reactive type of fasting aggravates the hallucinatory state.
   Kroll, J., Bachrach, B. (1982). Visions and psy-chopathology in the middle ages. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 170, 41-49.
   Mavrogiorgou, P., Juckel, G., Bauer, M. (2001). Rezidivierende paranoid-halluzinatorische Psychose nach Beginn einer Hungerkur bei einer Patientin mit Anorexia nervosa. Fortschritte der Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 69, 211-214.
   Van Deth, R., Vandereycken, W. (2000). Food refusal and insanity: Sitophobia and anorexia nervosa in Victorian asylums. International Journal ofEating Disorders, 27, 390-404. Von Krafft-Ebing, R. (1897). Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie aufklinischer Grundlage für praktische Ärzte und Studirende. Sechste vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage. Stuttgart: Verlag von Ferdinand Enke.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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