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Mental Status Exam
 
 

Illusions

 
 
 
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Overview

Distortions of perception based on external stimuli. Perceives things as different to usual, but accepts that they are not real or that things are perceived differently by others.
  • Interpretation

  • Complete illusions: inattention resulting in misinterpretating, such as misreading words in a newspaper
  • Affect illusions: related to a particular mood state, such as mistaking shadows for people when particularly anxious or paranoid
  • Pareidolia: vivid illusions without any effort required, such as interpreting the markings on a picture of burnt toast as the Virgin Mary
  • Tactile illusions - such as phantom limb syndrome in those who have undergone amputation
  • Significance

  • Generally benign, though particular mood states such as depression, anxiety, mania or delirium may trigger illusions.
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