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Hallucinations in the elderly, the stressed and BZ users



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Psychother Psychosom. 1996;65(4):171-82.

Benzodiazepines: tolerability in elderly patients.

Lechin F1, van der Dijs B, Benaim M.

Aging is a physiological process that shares many behavioral, biochemical and neuroendocrine phenomena with the pathophysiological situation of unresolved stress, as well as with a pharmacologically induced syndrome resulting from chronic benzodiazepine (BZ) consumption.

Behavioral findings include symptoms such as

  • drowsiness,
  • ataxia,
  • fatigue,
  • confusion,
  • weakness,
  • dizziness,
  • vertigo,
  • syncope,
  • reversible dementia,
  • depression,
  • impairment of intellectual, psychomotor and sexual function,
  • agitation,
  • auditory and visual hallucinations,
  • paranoid ideation,
  • panic,
  • delirium,
  • depersonalization,
  • sleepwalking,
  • aggressivity,
  • orthostatic hypotension, and
  • insomnia.

Neuroendocrine findings include: central depletion of noradrenaline (NA), dopamine, adrenaline (AD), and serotonin (5-HT); reduction in the ratio of circulating NA/AD as well as platelet 5-HT and increase of AD, plasma free 5-HT and cortisol.

These disturbances together with the increased platelet aggregability observed in the three groups are typical of unresolved-stress situations.

Immunological findings include significant reduction of peripheral T lymphocytes (CD3, CD4, CD8) and the CD4/CD8 ratio, CD16 and gamma-delta cells. On the other hand, the three groups (elderly subjects, subjects faced with unresolved stress, and BZ consumers) show increase of the CD57 lymphocyte subset as well as natural killer cytotoxicity.

Alterations of several biological markers have also been found, specifically in the oral glucose tolerance test, the intramuscular clonidine test, and the supine/orthostasis/exercise test.

From a clinical point of view, the three groups appear to be more susceptible to the appearance and progression of many acute and chronic diseases (infectious and malignant diseases). As a result, chronic consumption of BZs should be avoided in both the elderly and subjects in unresolved-stress situations.

PMID:  8843497

The source of the experience


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