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Is it normal to have hallucinations after a stroke?

6 answers | Last updated: Apr 07, 2015
caty76 asked...

My grandma has started having hallucinations since her Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke). Is there anything we can do to help? Is it normal?


Caring.com User - James Castle, M.D.
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James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.
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James Castle, M.D. answered...

In summary, yes, and yes.

A stroke can injure parts of the brain involved in keen awareness of the surroundings, spatial perception, and cognition. If any of these aspects of See also:
How to Tell if Someone Is Having a Stroke

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brain functioning are damaged, the person often loses their ability to function normally, or to adapt to any small changes in environment. It is quite frequent, as the brain ages or gets damaged, for people to become confused, hallucinate, etc., particularly when it gets into evening or nighttime hours, or if they are in strange surroundings. Also, these people tend to lose their standard sleep/wake cycle patterns, and can be up at night with paranoid delusions. A classic example would be an elderly stroke victim complaining that "there are people in the house who are stealing my things".

Fortunately, you can help. First, you can try regulating the environment, keeping her in a very comforting, stable environment. You can try to regulate her sleep/wake cycles by encouraging her not to take naps, to make sure she voids all urine before going to bed (to minimize nighttime waking to use the bathroom), and possibly even using gentle sleep aids to help her sleep at night.

Additional steps, if these initial steps fail, would include seeking the help of a Psychiatrist or starting anti-psychotic medications. Often, these medicines are very effective in cutting down on the frequency of psychotic delusions.


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17% helpful
paige answered...

Look at the correlation between stroke and theta waves or hypnagogia. Theta is the brain wave frequency common to strokes, slower that regular waking states, where hallucinations or hypnagogic images are exessive.


45% helpful
tiredbutsmiling answered...

My father began seeing children (we referred to them as "winkies" and he used me for reality checks, which helped him laugh them off) which eventually passed. the brain was partially starved for a short time -- the effect of the CVA -- and it takes a while to heal. Another blip concerning hallucinations came within a week of starting Aricept, which his doctor put him on almost immediately. My father would wake up after going to sleep and "see" things like a child handing him a flower. Aricept does increase REM pressure, which might account for some of the night time problems.

For months after the stroke, he slept a lot.... but that eventually decreased to normal levels.
Read Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor....


jainnagraj answered...

Nine months back my wife had a stroke.Initially she had only physical disability. After six months we noticed her mental disability too.She is sort of in a dream all the time.She is experiencing hallucinations.Some time she is very normal some time all of a sudden she becomes abnormal. There are ups and downs.Memory loss may be reason for all this sort of things.


Marciasheart answered...

I am not sure my mom had a stroke, I believe so. She had a fall where she did not put out her hands to brace the impact and her face took the entire force. We went to urgent care and nothing was broken. Now she is seeing demons in her room at night. She 'fights' them with her cane I fear she will break a window or mirror and cut herself.


clalvis answered...

My 59 y.o. husband had his third stroke two years ago and has been having hallucinations about the neighbors being in the house and messing with him. He gets to the point where he has to leave the house because he's unable to handle them. He pulls the covers over his head so he doesn't see them. I've had to rent an Extended Stay Hotel so that he and I can have a peace of mind. He has been subscribed Soroquel, but doesn't want to take it because people thinks he's crazy.