I would like to begin by saying I have never taken any drugs nor am I on any medication of any sorts. I believe my problem began, or the earliest attack I can remember, was when I was five. I was sleeping soundly when I woke myself up out of nowhere. I only caught a glimpse of a giant spider making its way under my covers. I was able to both see and feel the spider crawling in my bed and over my legs. Needless to say I spent the night in the comfort of my mother’s bed. They scattered themselves considerably throughout the next few years of my life. They stayed at the same terror level, rats, snakes and such showed themselves. However, recently they have become more and more consistent and more and more vivid and elaborate. Not only am I able to see them and feel them, it has escalated to actually hearing them. I have seen everything from bugs covering the wall to a shadow person standing next to me. If you need examples, trust me I have many, many more. I have recently expressed my concerns with my family doctor and he dismissed me quite quickly and I feel he did not take the time to diagnose me properly. I was wondering if these are normal, simple hallucinations not to be alarmed about or something worse. Please help me!
It is difficult to determine why you are having night hallucinations. Hallucinations can be an indicator of a psychotic disorder. Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychosis disorder not otherwise specified, and several others. Though hallucinations are associated with psychotic disorders, it is an unlikely possibility in your case. The main reason is because your hallucinations only occur at night. In addition, there was no mention of other symptoms that are indicative of a psychotic disorder.
A second possibility is that you have an undiagnosed medical condition.
The third and most likely possibility is that you may have a sleep disorder. Some sleep disorders have symptoms that are similar to those that you have described. To determine whether you have or don’t have a sleep disorder would require a sleep study. Your primary care physician can refer you to a sleep disorder clinic.
Even if your doctor did not take you seriously the first time you discussed your symptoms, you should attempt to discuss them again. Be persistent and be adamant about your desire for help. Being persistent will likely motivate your doctor to help. If your doctor continues to ignore your concerns, then see a different doctor.
In addition, it is important that your parents know about your symptoms. If your parents spoke to your doctor, the doctor would likely take your concerns more seriously.
It is important to evaluate the problem and then to find the right treatment. That process begins with speaking to your parents and again with your doctor. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle