Hallucinations, Delusions Uncommon in General Population: Study

Hallucinations, Delusions Uncommon in General Population: Study

Hallucinations, Delusions Uncommon in General Population: Study

Women, people in wealthier nations more likely to experience these psychotic experiences

SOURCE: JAMA Psychiatry, news release, May 27, 2015

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Hallucinations and delusions are uncommon in the general population, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 31,000 adults in 18 countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the South Pacific.

The average rate of having had at least one hallucination or delusion (collectively referred to as psychotic experiences) was just under 6 percent. The rates were 5 percent for hallucinations and 1 percent for delusions.

Psychotic experiences were more likely to be reported by women than men (6.6 percent versus 5 percent), and by people in middle-income (7.2 percent) and high-income (6.8 percent) countries than by those in low-income countries (3.2 percent).

Of those who reported psychotic experiences, 32.2 percent reported only one episode, while 31.8 percent reported two to five episodes, according to the study published online May 27 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

"We have provided, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive description of the epidemiologic landscape of psychotic experiences published to date. Although the lifetime prevalence of psychotic experiences is 5.8 percent, these events are typically rare," wrote Dr. John McGrath, of the University of Queensland in Australia, and colleagues.

"Our study highlights the subtle and variegated nature of the epidemiologic features of psychotic experiences and provides a solid foundation on which to explore the bi-directional relationship between psychotic experiences and mental health disorders," the study authors concluded.

More information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has more about psychosis.

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