Hallucinations are generally quite serious. They represent the extreme measures these people had to cope with early in life. At some point, most kids who go onto developing psychotic symptomology including hallucinations do so as they are more often than not dealing with a generalized terror; a terror often based on the notion that one or both parents are out to kill them. This terror can range from a parent trying to drive the child into insanity in an effort to rid themselves of their own psychotic adjustment to the world. They will consciously and unconsciously drive the child into psychosis by projecting their own psychosis into one or more of their children. And some parents in a psychotic rage have tried to kill a child and some have committed murder.
I’ve worked with patients who’ve been directly told by the mother that the mother wished she had gone through with the abortion she considered when discovering her pregnancy. The mother will often repeat this story. Other parents try to kill off the personalities of some of their children so that what is left is the empty husk of a disturbed mother’s jumble of psychotic projections. This feels to the child the mother’s hatred of having a child who is separate from the mother, an intolerable feeling for the mother.
Under these diabolical psychic conditions, the development of hallucinations is often as life-saving as it is creative. The problem is that the development of psychotic symptoms are perforce symptoms that alter the person’s reality often in frightening and unsafe ways. Hallucinations of any sort should be taken seriously and discussed initially with the person’s health care provider.
Yes, panic attacks usually precede the onset of a psychotic break with reality. However, in my experience panic attacks are often anxiety attacks that a person experiences for the 1st time. These symptoms can be found across many different mental illness categories. If someone suffers from these for the 1st time it’s best to consult with the person’s physician to be sure that the attacks are not organic and a symptom of a medical issue in need of attention. If it’s not related to a medical disease then a consultation with a licensed psychotherapist knowledgeable & experienced in working with those often very frightening conditions.
In closing, yes, intense anxiety, or more realistically, terror is often a feature of many psychotic conditions.
A personal note: I find it rather sad and unfortunate that people with these conditions are almost invariably prescribed powerful meds. While these drugs used judiciously to sometimes reduce a symptom that has prevented the patient from receiving the best therapy, psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy with the patient, if at all possible, to be seen 4 or 5 times weekly even if the sessions are, initially, only brief meetings intended to build emotional bridges to a very confused and often terrified patient who believes there is no one in the world who will seriously listen to them or take the time and lots of it, to listen to and help the patient understand him or herself.
My apologies for the prolix response but I am again working with people who live in and with extreme emotional and mental states. I discovered hope for each patient as I’ve seen through my own work remarkable changes in those patients who stick it out with me and tolerate and forgive my many mistakes as I struggle with them to make sense of the world around and in them and me.
It has been a quiet and moving privilege to be accepted by these broken and wounded people who allow me to work alongside them. In doing so, they helped mend some of the broken places in me.
To accompany them in an often titanic battle waged against the demons of madness; People who battled out with me a version of trust to accept me as an Allie in their fight for their right to be whole, coherent and finally, sane.