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Avatar universal

Can stress cause minor hallucinations?

Hello, I'm 18 and I've been dealing with depression and anxiety for a while. I'm currently in an outpatient program and have been on a new medication, Wellbutrin, for about a month. On Wellbutrin I've noticed my anger/irritation has greatly increased, but I've experienced some improvements with my energy. I've also started my transition back to school from this program, and I've been really stressed. This last week has been particularly bad. It started off with just this constant headache, which keeps me awake most of the night even with sleeping pills and other medications. Then there's this stomach ache which makes it difficult to eat, and when I do I often throw up from how nauseous I feel. The stress has been so bad that I think I have truly lost my mind. I've been having false perceptions or minor hallucinations - I'm not sure what to call them. A  common false perception is when I come to stoplights. I'll come to a red light and make a complete stop. However, cars keep driving past and the cars behind me honk. Even though it's happened a few times, I still get so confused and panicked each time it happens, wondering if these people are trying to get themselves killed by running a red light. Looking back, I realize the lights were actually green, although while driving they were so clearly red. A few nights ago I was making dinner and grabbed a box of pasta. The word pasta was written in big, capital letters across the top, with the image of pasta on the front. I was getting a pan out to boil water when my mom picked up the box and mentioned how I had found the box of cookies she bought. Apparently I was about to boil a box of cookies, not pasta. Another day at school I was in the bathroom and the walls and mirrors were tilting in and out and the floor moving up and down like the waves in an ocean. The more I tried to focus on something the worse it got. When I left the bathroom it wasn't so bad. Some guys were standing outside the bathroom and I couldn't stop thinking how they were going to hurt me, rape me, etc. I've been really paranoid about everything, and although I understand it is just paranoia, the panic is so strong when the thoughts come. Today has been the first day I have felt ok all week. I'm able to sit here and collect my thoughts and understand that all of this is just my mind playing tricks on me. I understand that difficulty eating and sleeping probably plays a large role in this. Today I feel like I've entered back into reality, but I need help figuring out what is going on. Am these hallucinations or just false perceptions and what's the difference? I've talked to my doctor about these false perceptions and she said it was normal to see things when you're under a lot of stress. She told me to use my coping skills and I'd be fine. I agree, and I've been using coping skills and feel a little bit more under control. Could someone give me a little bit of advice about this? I believe - and correct me if I'm wrong - that Wellbutrin affects Dopamine. Could this play a role in what I've been seeing? I go to therapy every day and see my psychiatrist often, but I don't feel like it's helped with this. Please tell me that this is relatively normal and if I simply manage my stress things will stay ok. Any feedback or advice would be great.
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480448 tn?1426948538
Oh, and in the meantime, I would recommend NOT driving...have someone take you where you need to go.  Seeing a traffic light as red when it's green (or vice versa) is very very dangerous and could cause you to be in an accident.
Helpful - 0
480448 tn?1426948538
You need to contact your doctor about this ASAP.  Hallucinations or not, something is going on, and as a result, you actually could end up in a bad way (the traffic light scenario is scary!)

Please call your doc today and explain what's been going on.  

Ah...I just read this..

" I've talked to my doctor about these false perceptions and she said it was normal to see things when you're under a lot of stress. She told me to use my coping skills and I'd be fine."

I don't like that your doc is dismissing this.  I would either recommend seeing another doctor (is there more than one in the practice?) or getting a second opinion.

Keep us updated!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Stress management may or may not be helpful enough to keep this at bay.  It might help keep it from happening as often.  I would say if your psychiatrist is not taking these symptoms of yours seriously enough to try to help you figure out why it's happening and/or reconsider your diagnosis, seek out someone who will.  Unfortunately, we have to be our own advocates.
Helpful - 0

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