Paper on 'The hallucinations of widowhood'
Type of Spiritual Experience
This paper on Pubmed was called “Visual Hallucinations in Mild Dementia” and is by Raphael J. Leo, M.D., and Kristin Stievater Ahrens, M.D. It has a slight ring of condescension about it, but the evidence is good.
The wording is rather amusing, but what they are saying is that people [not just widows], who are for some reason or another suffering intense grief, can also suffer from hallucinations, although as it correctly says occasionally the hallucinations are not ‘suffered’ they can prove oddly comforting.
A description of the experience
Isolated visual hallucinations, that is, in the absence of commensurate psychological symptoms, are not characteristic of psychiatric disorders. One exception might be the brief visual hallucinations that reportedly occur with widowhood. However, in such cases, elderly widows demonstrate grief and intense longing in association with the visual images of the deceased spouse. Such images are usually not distressing to the patient, and tend to resolve with appropriate resolution of appropriate grief reactions.
The source of the experiencePubMed
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Olson PR, Suddeth JA, Peterson PJ, et al: Hallucinations of widowhood. J Am Geriatr Soc 1985; 33:543–547
Adair DK, Keshavan MS: The Charles Bonnet syndrome and grief reaction (letter). Am J Psychiatry 1988; 145:895