Grief Hallucinations: True or Pseudo? Serious or Not?
An Inquiry into Psychopathological and Clinical Features of a Common PhenomenonBaethge C.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
An inquiry into the psychopathology and the clinical significance of grief hallucinations is presented and two cases with severe grief hallucinations are described. Unlike many cases in the literature, the two female patients were young (aged 43 and 45, respectively) and both suffered from the loss of a daughter. The heterogeneous concept of grief hallucinations is described and discussed, focusing particularly on the difficulties of reaching a differentiation between hallucination and pseudohallucination. Basic theses of the article are: (1) Contrary to a widely held view, grief hallucinations can display all the characteristics of ‘true’ hallucinations. (2) The concept of grief hallucinations probably comprises a heterogeneous group of disturbances of perception and of thought processes. They can be experienced as comforting but can also cause considerable distress. (3) There are essentially two definitions of pseudohallucinations and they contradict each other. The extremely vague concept of pseudohallucinations appears to be of questionable value and should be abandoned.
Christopher Baethge, MD
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Freie Universität Berlin
Eschenallee 3, D–14050 Berlin (Germany)
Tel. +49 30 84458661, Fax +49 30 84458388
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 28
Psychopathology (International Journal of Descriptive Psychopathology Phenomenology and Clinical Diagnositcs)
Founded 1897 as ‘Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie’
Vol. 35, No. 5, Year 2002 (Cover Date: September-October 2002)
Journal Editor: E. Gabriel, Vienna; C. Mundt, Heidelberg
ISSN: 0254–4962 (print), 1423–033X (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/psp