The typical "Hollywood" representation of Schizophrenia involves vivid visual hallucinations.

However, in practice, the dozen or so people with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia I have worked with have only had auditory hallucinations. I can't tell if visual hallucinations are very uncommon, or if my selection size isn't large enough.

Are there any statistics showing what percentage of patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia have visual hallucinations, compared to aural hallucinations, or even no hallucinations at all?

  • $\begingroup$ AFAIK, auditory are certainly more common, and Hollywood is probably way off. This video seems a little closer to the mark, but also features some subtle visual hallucinations like bubbling/swirling effects and shifts in the overall lighting and color palette of the environment. $\endgroup$ – Nick Stauner Jul 31 '14 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, auditory hallucinations (particularly "hearing voices") are far more common, with some estimating prevalence of over 70%. $\endgroup$ – user6480 Aug 11 '14 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ I seem to recall the occurrence of hallucinations being culturally sensitive. I'll post an answer once I find the reference. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Aug 11 '14 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, turns out it was only auditory hallucinations. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Aug 12 '14 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ @IQAndreas This review may interest you. $\endgroup$ – user6480 Aug 12 '14 at 6:23

Mueser and colleagues (1990) examined 117 DSM-III-R schizophrenic or schizoaffective disorder patients and reported a prevalence of 16% for visual hallucinations. Interestingly, they found that the global severity of illness was higher in patients with schizophrenia and visual hallucinations. Teeple and colleagues (2009) observe that this finding makes sense of the widely varying estimates of prevalence of visual hallucinations in schizophrenic patients, since patients with more severe illness might be expected to experience more visual hallucinations than those with less severe illness.


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