T.O. Dickey III, MD, Associate professor and program director, Department of behavior medicine and psychiatry, West Virginia University, Charleston, WV
Hallucinations in children are of grave concern to parents and clinicians, but aren’t necessarily a symptom of mental illness. In adults, hallucinations usually are linked to serious psychopathology; however, in children they are not uncommon and may be part of normal development.
A hallucination is a false auditory, visual, gustatory, tactile, or olfactory perception not associated with real external stimuli. It must be differentiated from similar phenomenon such as illusions (misperception of actual stimuli), elaborate fantasies, imaginary companions, and eidetic images (visual images stored in memory).