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Persisting visual hallucinations and illusions in previously drug-addicted patients.

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Persisting visual hallucinations and illusions in previously drug-addicted patients.

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2003 Mar;220(3):176-8

Authors: Gaillard MC, Borruat FX

BACKGROUND: Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are psychomimetic agents that induce impairment of sensory perception. Illusions and hallucinations are mostly visual. Most frequently the visual phenomena occur in conjunction with drug abuse. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Three previously drug-addicted patients were examined for either persisting or spontaneously recurrent visual phenomena. Two patients complained of persisting visual illusions (vibrations, dyskinetopsia and impaired depth perception) during more than 12 months after an excessive use of cannabis. The third patient was a multiple drug abuser (LSD for 6 years) and complained of visual hallucinations and palinopsia following heavy ethanol intake, 20 years after stopping the use of any drug. RESULTS: Results from neuro-ophthalmic and neurological examinations were normal for the first two patients. The third patient presented abnormal visual fields with preserved visual acuity; electroencephalography was abnormal, suggesting an underlying toxic encephalopathy. CONCLUSIONS: Persistent visual illusions or hallucinations can occur during several months after an intake of cannabis. Flash-back phenomena are frequent amongst LSD abusers. They rarely occur at long times after the last intake (20 years in the present case); when they do so, precipitating factors are often present (ethanol, medication, anesthesia). Such phenomena reflect the cortical dysfunctions that can be induced by illegal substances.

PMID: 12664374 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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This is very interesting as I fit 2 of the rare phenomena associated with the subject having recurrence after 20 yrs with no drug use. I presented with abnormal visual fields and my symptoms began following surgery with general anesthesia. This is a great relief to know, because several MDs decided it was purely psychosomatic. Very glad they are doing these studies. Alisa

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Guest ghostibator

My symptoms first arose after being put under for knee surgery last May. I have always tried to tell myself that was the case, because I don't recall any weird problems before the surgery (except some migraine like auras at night once or twice).

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