PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The association between hallucinations and sensory loss, especially vision- and hearing-impairment, has been firmly established over the past years. The deafferentation theory, a decrease of the threshold for activation in the brain and the consequential imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory brain networks, is hypothesized to underly this relationship. Here we review the studies investigating this theory with a focus on the most recent literature to better understand the contribution of sensory loss to hallucinations.

RECENT FINDINGS: A large cross-sectional study has recently confirmed the relationship between auditory impairment and deafferentation. However, the underlying mechanisms of deafferentation are still under debate, with hyperexcitability and deviations in bottom-up and top-down processes being the most likely explanations. Social isolation following sensory impairment increases the risk for hallucinations. Better knowledge and awareness about the contribution of deafferentation and loneliness would benefit diagnosis and treatment of hallucinations.

SUMMARY: Studies imply activity in higher order areas, corresponding to the functional mapping of sensory system, and a general state of higher excitability as neurobiological explanation. Auditory deafferentation, tinnitus and other auditory hallucinations, likely lie on a continuum. Social isolation mediates psychotic symptoms in sensory-impaired individuals. Currently, there is no standard treatment for deafferentation hallucinations.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)206-211
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftCurrent opinion in psychiatry
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum31-jan-2020
StatusPublished - mei-2020

Citeer dit