There Are Four Kinds Of Drunken Personality (Among Students, At Least) Which One Are You?

New, preliminary evidence suggests that University undergrad students who drink alcohol fall into four different, colourful types, each with a particular shift in personality when under the influence of alcohol.

The findings could increase our understanding of why some students behave in harmful ways when drunk while others usually don’t.

Rachel Winograd and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia asked 374 student participants to complete a personality test twice, once considering themselves as they normally are, the other time how they behave and feel once they’re drunk. The researchers conducted a cluster analysis on the dataset to find four types of student drinker.

The 4 Types Of Student Drinker

These are the four group types:

  1. Those for whom drinking had less effect on their intellect and conscientiousness than is typical, dubbed “Hemingways” in tribute to the writer’s reputed imperviousness to alcohol
  2. Those who are introverted (shy) when sober, but highly extraverted (outgoing and socially confident) and unconscientious when drunk, who experienced the greatest overall personality shift thanks to alcohol, and are named “Nutty Professors” after the Jerry Lewis character
  3. Those who are very pleasant and harmonious (high agreeableness) when sober, and when drunk, retain most of their agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect. In all, they experience the slightest alcohol related change, named the “Mary Poppinses
  4. Finally, those dubbed “Mr Hydes” due to their larger decreases in agreeableness, conscientiousness and intellect when drunk

This last group is of particular interest. Although none of the types were linked to greater units consumed per each drinking session, nor with binge drinking, the “Mr Hydes” were significantly more likely to experience negative alcohol-related consequences, including poorer grades, regrettable sex or cravings for drink in the morning; this effect was in comparison to the “Mary Poppinses”, with the other groups falling intermediate.

It’s also worth noting the “Mr Hyde” group had the highest proportion of women (two thirds, with the sample being overall 57% women).

Some Limitations

Their are however, a few limitations to note. Firstly, each participant was also rated by a buddy in the sample, but analysis of their judgments didn’t suggest any clear typology in the way that the self-ratings did.

The authors suggest that the shifts they are looking for may be subtle and internal, and can be overlooked by outsiders looking for stereotypical drunk behaviours, which I find plausible. Even so, convergent evidence would have been preferable.

The study looked at sober perceptions of drunkenness, so further work using observation of alcohol use in the lab, or even the pub would be welcome. And of course, the undergrad drinkers are not all drinkers, and older, alcohol-dependent home drinkers may fall into very different dynamics.

Previous research had suggested that alcohol-related personality change is a predictor of alcohol problems, but this research develops this understanding by attributing it to a type of change, rather than simply the quantity of change (as the radical shift of the “nutty professors” was not associated with greater harm). As such, it suggests possible risk factors that can help individuals understand why they are the ones suffering, when all they are doing is drinking like their undergrad crew/ university friends do.

You can find out more and read the full survey findings and research methods here.

Which Category Do You Think You Fall Into?

Let us know by commenting below, or posting on our social media pages. We always like to hear from you. If you aren’t already following us on our social media pages, now is the perfect time to do so!

We’d like to say thank you to Rachel Winograd for her research into this issue and to her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This post was written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera), originally for the BPS Research Digest.

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  • Heroin Overdose Deaths Often Happen Shortly After Leaving Hospital According To New Cutting Edge Research

    Drug-related deaths are four times more likely to occur in the two days after hospital discharge than at any other time among users of opioids such as heroin or illicitly sought prescription opioids not directly prescribed for the consumer, according to research led by UCL, Public Health England (PHE) and King’s College London.

    In this May 11, 2016 photo, University of Massachusetts Medical School nursing student Morgan Brescia, right, and others attend a simulation of treatment for a patient coping with addiction during class at the medical school in Worcester, Mass. Many U.S. medical schools are expanding their training to help students fight opioid abuse. New training programs at many schools teach students to prescribe opioid painkillers only as a last resort, and to evaluate all patients for signs of drug abuse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    The peer-reviewed study, published today in PLOS Medicine, looked at data from 13,609 adults in England, who were aged between 18 and 64 years old, and died after using non-prescribed opioids over a nine year period between 2010 and 2019.  

    The researchers looked at the history of individuals’ hospital admissions and then assessed whether they were admitted to hospital at the time of death, or had recently been discharged. Overall, the study found that 1 in 14 opioid-related deaths in England occurred within the first two weeks after being discharged from hospital.

    Of the 13,609 deaths, 1,088 occurred within the 14 days after hospital discharge, particularly during the first 48 hours, when the risk of fatal overdose is four times higher than usual as their tolerance has dropped since being admitted into hospital. Patients who’re admitted to mental health in-patient hospitals, who self discharged and left hospital against their doctor’s advice, or who had stays of seven days or more were also at greater risk more the reason mentioned before, or because of other contributing factors.

    Deaths due to drug overdoses reached the highest level on record in the UK in 2020, and it’s concerning to see that hospital discharge is such a high-risk time for people who use illicit opioids such as heroin.

    Lead author, Dan Lewer (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care and NIHR Research Fellow)

    Hospital patients who use drugs often report under-treated pain or opioid withdrawal and might leave hospital sooner than medically recommended by their treating clinician to use illegal drugs. More support is urgently needed for those leaving hospital, and interventions such as medication assisted treatments (MAT) or other psycho-therapeutic treatments to prevent or reduce the signs and symptoms of withdrawal, or overdose response training post discharge could save hundreds, if not thousands of lives each year with the cheap, and easy to use emergency interventions such as Naloxone to prevent overdoses from occurring should a discharged patient overdose.

    This is what we want to avoid!

    The authors of the research say that discharge from hospital may be associated with an increased risk of death because a patient’s tolerance to drugs reduces over the days or weeks that they’re in hospital, leaving them vulnerable on discharge. Additionally, medicines such as methadone and buprenorphine that prevent drug withdrawal may not be available in hospital, or may not be available for the patient to continue using post discharge, meaning that the patient may not be able to begin a MAT treatment in hospital and continue with it upon discharge. which makes people more likely to use heroin as soon as they leave hospital. Finally, the illness, overdose or incident that caused someone to be admitted to hospital might make them more vulnerable to death after using opioids.

    I was admitted to hospital because I accidentally overdosed on heroin when I took a hit from heroin I bought from a dealer whose drug I had not had before. It was stronger than I had estimated, and I ended up in a coma as a result. After being woken up 4 days after the event, I found myself in severe withdrawal. I asked hospital staff for help, however they couldn’t offer me methadone or other heroin replacement medications. I had some heroin delivered to the hospital which I injected in the toilet. However I ended up back in withdrawal once it began to wear off a short while later.

    I then self-discharged the following day because I couldn’t cope with the severity of the symptoms I was experiencing. Had I been able to receive some support in hospital, I would have stayed and continued with my treatment that my Doctor said I urgently needed. Only time will tell what consequences this decision will have on my long-term prognosis.

    T Johnson – 19 years old – Weymouth, Dorset, UK

    Of the total number of 13,609 deaths, a further 236 deaths (1.7%) happened following drug use while admitted to hospital.

    Co-author, Dr Thomas Brothers (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care & Dalhousie University / Nova Scotia Health, Canada), who specialises in treating addiction, said: “It’s possible these patients were admitted to a hospital ward and might have been found dead in a hospital toilet.

    “We don’t want patients needing to treat their own withdrawal or pain and end up overdosing in the bathroom. Hospitals can do more to support these patients, by giving proper medication, safer spaces for drug use, or take-home naloxone kits which can reverse an opioid overdose. They’re easy to use, and between 75-100% effective.

    Specific drug consumption facilities are another option which we need to consider if we’re to truly tackle the addiction epidemic in the UK. Let’s be honest, the method of punishing addicts with prison sentences, arrests and criminal records for possession hasn’t worked in the last decade, and it isn’t about to start working now. People will continue to use substances, whether they’re legal or not, so we must provide services that accept this fact and provide services that meet the honest needs of addicts who still use. We must adopt a medical/health oriented approach to addiction. After all, addiction is a recognised chronic medical condition! Even mobile versions exist, with positive research and data from pre-existing data from European DCR’s.

    A typical drug consumption room

    Lewer added: “We’re facing a public health crisis in the UK related to drug related deaths, and very sadly many of these deaths are completely avoidable. The research findings show that hospitals can, and should play a central role in stopping the escalating crisis in drug-related deaths. They can ensure that medicines such as methadone are available in the same way as they are in the community. They can also work with patients and their local community drug and alcohol service to plan discharge and make sure that these patients have somewhere safe to recover when they leave hospital.”

    The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

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  • Our Award Winning Professionals

    Dave, one of our volunteer psychotherapists, hypnotherapists & acupuncturists has won a contribution award for his dedication to his clients!

    He would like to say a big thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for him and goes on to say the following.

    I do what I do because I not only enjoy it, but because I like giving back and helping others. I’m extremely grateful, and It’s really humbling knowing that others appreciate and value the work and therapies that I provide in order to help other fellow addicts to enter recovery, and live the productive and prosperous life that we all deserve to live. Thank you!…

    Dave – Volunteer Therapist

    Our Professional Therapies

    If you’d like to know more about our award winning therapies and recovery services, check out our page for more information here. You can also find a wide variety of groups, charities and organisations who can help you on our help and support page here.

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  • Addiction Around The World

    Today’s fact finding post! These statistics are shocking, considering all of the latest technology, medicinal discoveries, human attitudes, improvements in attitudes towards mental health and improvements in neighbourly relations following on from the COVID outbreak, people with substance use disorders (addictions) still face much persecution, judgement, shame, isolation.

    Until we ALL adopt a universal attitude that supports and embraces positive attitudes towards recovery, then nothing will change. It is no wonder these statistics are as they are when you consider that in certain countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and India, addicts are beaten, abused, forced into withdrawal with no support in jails that would be unfit for animals, never mind human beings.

    Do Your Bit To Promote Change!…

    We can all do our small part to change this. If you only do one thing today, share this post on your social media accounts, or remind everyone you know that:

    1) Addiction isn’t a choice or moral failing.
    2) Addiction isn’t infectious.
    3) Long term recovery is possible.
    4) No one is excluded when it comes to developing an addiction.
    5) Help and support is out there for those who want it.

    And maybe the most important of all…

    6) You are worth recovery, you deserve happiness, a prosperous and productive life, and are NEVER a lost cause or too far gone to change!

    Want Help, Advice & Support?

    If you or someone you know is suffering alone with an addiction, it’s never to soon or to late to reach out and ask for help! Everyone deserves to live a life that’s happy, substance free, productive and prosperous, and we can help you with this!

    1. Check out our wide range of articles in our blog.
    2. Contact one of our specialist, experienced therapists who can help you with a wide range of therapies and treatments. You can find out more here.
    3. Have a look at our help and support page where you can find a list of a wide variety of groups, organisations and charities who can help you.
    4. Have a chat with others who may be in a similar position to you on our social media pages. You can find links to them here.

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  • DnD Courses, Workshops And Masterclasses Coming In Jan 2022

    Coming in January 2022 is our unique, proven, expert led range of courses, workshops and webinars for addicts, their family and friends, healthcare professionals and the general public.

    Addictions, Habits & Trauma – Getting Clean, Living Free

    How Will This Course Help Me?

    This course has been designed by industry experts, addiction campaigners, recovering addicts, leading academic researchers and biological scientists to provide a “one stop shop” course to move you from your current situation, no matter whether you are at rock bottom or living an average life in recovery that you would like to improve on, there’s something for everyone.

    1. Overcome the emotional trauma of breakups and betrayal
    2. Release the negative anger and pain you may be experiencing from life, relationships or addiction
    3. Understand and apply true forgiveness to bring freedom to you and your future success
    4. Let go of childhood beliefs and negative emotions often that interfere or hinder with your healing
    5. Tame the pain from emotional traumas, the consequences that come from addiction
    6. Loads more!

    This course can help with substance addictions, improving on bad habits, overcoming the betrayal you may be feeling from a family member or friend who is an addict, breaking up from volatile relationships that aren’t good for you, or even simply improving your knowledge about addiction, coping strategies and life skills, no matter what, there’s something in here for everyone!

    What Is Included In The Course?

    To make this course as comprehensive, unique and supportive as possible, we include much, much more than other courses you may find online. Our course contains:

    1. A fully modulated, interactive course that leads you along each and every stage as you improve your knowledge, gain new skills and experiences that you can use in your daily life. There is no time limit so that you can stop and start when it suits you
    2. Access to guided audio mindfulness, hypnotherapy and relaxation sessions
    3. 6 quizzes (one for each module)
    4. 25+ additional handouts and downloads
    5. Guides to helpful techniques such as journaling, EFT tapping techniques and others
    6. Access to a library of eBooks and PDF versions of helpful textbooks that you can read to boost your learning and knowledge at any time.
    7. Creation of your own person recovery plan to ensure that you make the most of each day, and achieve the goals, dreams and bucket list items you have planned for the future.
    8. Discussion board for you to speak with experts and others who may be in the same situation as yourself
    9. 12 months of ongoing support with access to an exclusive blog that only those who have undergone this course may read
    10. 12 months of “check-ins” from life coaches and therapists at the 3 months, 6 months and 12 month stages
    • Module 1: Why It’s So Hard To Let Go Of The Pain
    • Module 2: Understanding Forgiveness, Including Learning To Forgive Yourself
    • Module 3: Strategies To Let The Pain Go
    • Module 4: Living A New Way Of Life That Works
    • Module 5: Applying Techniques & Strategies In Real Life
    • Module 6: Where Do I Go From Here?

    Other Workshops & Masterclasses

    Each month, we will be conducting workshops and masterclasses on various addiction and behavioural topics with leading academics, experts, recovering addicts, organisations from around the EU who are currently conducting cutting edge research, therapies and trials.

    They will be conducted online with spaces to book prior to the events.

    As and when the coronavirus situation dictates, we will also run physical workshops and meetings. We will provide more updates on these when we are able to as the current situation allows.

    Included within the course are guided meditation and mindfulness sessions that can be downloaded and listened to whenever you need to simply take some time out and relax, or to help to settle and sleep better before you go to bed. They are recorded by qualified, experienced therapists and mindfulness experts to ensure that the recordings are potent, and really hit the spot when stress rises and you need to reach for an alternative to substances, and that it to listen to these, they work!

    These can be purchased as a set, or individually to suit your needs. More information about these will be released in the near future.

    Join Our Mailing List To Keep Ahead Of The Latest News & Updates!…

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  • 10 Steps to Take if an Alcoholic or Addict Refuses Treatment

    They don’t believe that they’re sick. They don’t believe that anything’s wrong. It takes a big wake up call to get through the addiction, and to the person that we all know is still inside, screaming to be let out.

    If Your Loved One Refusing Treatment:

    10. Admit It to Yourself

    If you’re in denial, it’s not helping anyone. Even for those who haven’t dealt with a family member or a friend falling down the rabbit hole, it can be difficult to admit to yourself that their problems have gone on too long, and has become serious or life-threatening. While this doesn’t sound like it directly impacts the suffering addict, you’re admitting the problem and bracing yourself to be a support system for your loved one. It’s not easy for either side, but when it comes down to it, they need to get better, and you need to be there for them.

    9. Educate Yourself

    Find out what they’re going through on an educational level. While every single addiction is different, and potentially more harrowing than what you may find online, withdrawal symptoms and other synonymous aspects tend to go with their coupled addictions. It can help you prepare for the future and keep your eyes out for any signs of potential overdose.

    More than that, it’s also a key component in validating your stance in an intervention down the road. If you know nothing about what your loved one is going through, it’s very difficult to understand the magnitude of the situation from a third-party perspective. Do the research, and understand the specific drug (or alcohol) issues that your loved one is going through in order to better understand their place in all of this.

    8. Decipher the Situation

    There are different stages of addiction. It’s difficult to determine exactly where your loved one resides. It makes a difference between being able to talk one-on-one with them and realising that they are too far gone and only they can help themselves. If you can determine where they are in their addiction, it’s going to be beneficial.

    Do you need help understanding how to reach a loved one who is suffering from addiction?

    7. Start with the Medical Approach

    When someone is in the grip of addiction, their clarity quickly withers away. Suggest or schedule a routine check-up appointment. Inform the doctor of the addiction prior to the visit, and do so for multiple reasons. They’ll be better able to identify the issues and see past the excuses of the addict. Doctors will still protect doctor-patient confidentiality, but in their medical and professional opinions, they can also recommend courses of action to take, which can be very eye-opening for the addict. In some cases, it has been proven to help them think clearly when someone outside of their social or family circle is able to recognize issues. Before they are too far gone, it’s a wake-up call.

    6. Stop Enabling Their Habit

    If you’ve identified yourself as an instigator, or have been identified as one by an outside perspective, there are ways to prevent it. Fear controls everything; it’s human nature. Fear of losing your loved one to addiction, or to the life it would leave them with, will be detrimental in providing them with the environment that they need. If you were always wondering why they needed lump sums of money or what they were doing with it, the answer has become pretty clear.

    If you’ve even gone so far as to get advances on your paycheck, or pawn items for additional income, looking deep inside yourself will reveal that you’ve always known something was going on, and you’ve finally admitted to yourself that you’re financially supporting an addiction. There are safe ways to stop this without causing a ruckus. Instead of being confrontational about it, be anti-confrontational. There is a right time and place for everything. If they ask and you refuse, give a reason. When an addict feels ganged-up on, it can cause them to disappear for days at a time, and that’s always very worrying. Refuse to fund their vice.

    5. Offer Them Constructive Support

    Offering Support For An Addict Who Refuses Treatment

    Without stating the obvious, let the addict know that you are there for them no matter what. It’s very easy to have a conversation with someone, and keep the subject matter silent, while both of you know what’s going on. By avoiding bringing it up in direct words or unveiling anger, you’re showing them that you’re not being judgmental, that you just want to help.

    After enough of these timid, non-confrontational discussions, you may notice positive changes in behavior. When an addict is truly trying to fight through their addiction and they begin to show it, you’ve hit a pivotal point in the recovery process. It can be a make-or-break situation. If you’re still showing the same level of support and they are responding appropriately, there may come a time when they openly tell you about their addiction and that they need help. This is going to make the entire process easier and eliminate the need for an intervention.

    4. When All Else Fails, Don’t Use Guilt

    It’s very easy to mix up the thought of an ultimatum, and lecturing or guilting an addicted individual into ceasing their vice usage. Under no circumstances should you attempt to guilt them into quitting their addiction. Phrases like “How could you do this to me,” or anything that will garner guilt and/or shame from the addict is a surefire no-go.

    3. Positively Encourage Them

    We’ve been able to identify if we are enabling them, or if someone else is, but it comes down to one thing. They need help, and whether it’s a therapist or detoxification program, you can encourage them to seek help far better than anyone else can if you’re an important and influential figure in their life.

    2. Analyze Where You Are

    It’s coming down to the wire. If all previous attempts have failed, our number one solution will be the last ditch effort to getting your loved one off of drugs, and giving them the health and attention they need to recover. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, you’ll be able to better determine if your efforts are proving useful or if you need to take one more stab at this.

    1. Don’t Use An Intervention

    Interventions don’t work. If the person in question isn’t really to change, forcing them to do so will not only fragment your relationship with them, but also fail at long term success. They may initially do what you want them to do, however if they don’t want to do change, they’ll ultimately just revert back to their original using or drinking habits. This can be extra dangerous as their tolerance may drop whilst they drag themselves through your intervention, and as soon as they decide to use or drink again, they will often use or drink the same amount as before which can cause them to overdose.

    Instead, it may be that a hard decision has to be made. You may have to cut them off until they are ready to change and make real efforts to seek out treatment, and also, be willing to apply the changes to all areas of their life, not just seeking treatment and expecting that treatment will work in their exact same old lifestyle that they were living in before. This means changing their friends to those who don’t use or drink, adapting their environment, become aware of triggers and what to do when they occur, creating and sticking to a recovery plan and others.

    Have You Considered The Alternatives?

    It’s important to consider alternative options that may be more appropriate and agreeable for you, as well as the addict in question. They may be refusing treatment because they are worried by horror stories, myths, stigma or misinformation about inpatient treatment. Although they may not show it, they may actually be worried about going away to a strange place, being told what to do, fearful that they’ll be unable to access drugs and alcohol if things don’t work out, or it may be that they are worried of loosing control over their care and treatment.

    After all, who wants to be in a strange place, possibly feeling the effects of withdrawal whilst going through a detox regime, with people you don’t know taking complete control over your treatment plan, meals, chores and recovery activities for weeks, months or even years in some cases!

    For some people, thoughts like these put people off from wanting to enter an inpatient recovery program, causing them to rebel and withdraw into themselves, ultimately pushing away any possible effective communication and dialogue about treatment options.

    But There’s An Alternative To Consider!

    Many members of the public, friends and family of addicts who have no experience of dealing with addicts is that they think that if you need to get clean and sober, you must go into a rehab as that’s the treatment option if you have a drug and alcohol addiction. However, there is an option that many don’t know exist, or often forgotten about, especially in the heat of the moment when discussions with the addict in question have broken down is to consider suggesting outpatient treatment instead!

    Outpatient, or community drug and alcohol services as they’re better known by can offer a great opportunity for recovery when inpatient treatment just isn’t an option anymore.

    It maybe come as a surprise to realise that the majority of people who get clean and sober using the help of professional, structured support actually don’t set foot into an inpatient rehab. 97% of those who get clean and sober do so with the help of community based drug and alcohol services according to Government National Statistics.

    Other reasons this may be a better option is:

    • They’re able to stay at home in familiar surroundings.
    • They may have pets that they can’t or won’t want to leave behind.
    • The cost may be out of the question, especially when no “charity” beds are available and waiting lists growing by the minute.
    • Allows the addict to continue working, studying or continuing hobbies or interests if they still appeal in later stages of addiction?
    • Provides the opportunity for the addict to take control over their treatment by attending their appointments and choosing which supplementary recovery activities they want to take part in.
    • Eases anxiety for example by not having to live with strangers, or live in close proximity to others who may trigger negative feelings or OCD flareups.
    • Family and friends can still visit and help the person rather than only being on the end of a phone or internet communication through apps such as Zoom or Skype.

    These reasons, along with many others may allow community treatment to become a more appropriate option.

    Almost all (99%) people in treatment received some form of structured treatment. You can find a definition of structured treatment.

    Of the people that did receive a structured treatment:

    • 97% received a community-based treatment
    • 9% received treatment in a primary care setting
    • 4% received treatment in an inpatient setting
    Breakdown of settings where peoples’ treatment took place – Government National Statistics.

    The number of people receiving treatment in inpatient and residential settings has continued to fall year on year since . There were 25,847 people receiving treatment in those settings. There were 25,847 people receiving treatment in those settings in 2014 to 2015 compared to 16,757 people in 2018 to 2019.

    If you need help with this, you can find contact information for a wide range of charities, groups and organisations who can help you along the way by clicking here!

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  • Body Maps Reveal The Range Of Sensations And Feelings Experienced During Hallucinations New Study Suggests

    Most research into hallucinations focuses on unimodal hallucinations — hallucinatory experiences that only affect one sensory modality, such as hearing or touch. But for decades there has been evidence that multimodal hallucinations (which affect more than one sense at once) may be quite common. One of the main challenges in investigating them, however, has been capturing and communicating the wide array of features that comprise multimodal experiences.

    However, thanks to new research in EClinicalMedicine from Katie Melvin and colleagues at the University of Leicester, this may be about to change. To improve our understanding of the feelings and sensations associated with hallucinations, the team gathered a group of participants to create what they dubbed MUSE maps — visual and written representations of what hallucinations feel like throughout (and around) the body. Not only do their findings suggest that most hallucinations seem to have emotional and multisensory components, but their new method offers a more intuitive way to communicate and understand hallucinatory experiences.

    For their study, the team recruited twelve participants who were experiencing hallucinations daily and had been given psychotic-spectrum diagnoses. For one week, these participants kept a visual diary documenting the feelings and modalities associated with their hallucinations.

    In the diary entries, participants were encouraged to write and sketch about the details of their hallucinatory experiences. Each day’s diary page contained a tick-box list of modalities that were involved in hallucinations, free text boxes in which to write about the feelings and sensations associated with them, and a body-map to indicate which feelings were experienced in which parts of the body. The participants could use any medium to express the lived experience of their hallucinations, though all ultimately chose to provide their input using pen or pencil. The data gathered from these diaries were collectively referred to as multimodal unusual sensory experience (MUSE) maps. Finally, when the week was over, the participants came into a clinic to further discuss each of their MUSE maps in a 30-minute interview with the primary researcher.

    The participants reported a wide range of hallucinatory experiences, such as auditory or gustatory hallucinations, all the way through to disruptions in the feeling of time. All participants shared that they experienced bodily feelings and sensations as co-occurring with hallucinations, and provided detailed schematic illustrations of their experiences on the body map templates provided (several of which are reproduced in the published article). Though some favoured words and arrows pointing to various points of the body, others took a more intuitive and artistic approach, illustrating waves of sensations with lines, sectioned bodies, broken hearts, and literally weighted limbs.

    Examples of body maps showing multimodal hallucinations. From Melvin et al (2021).

    Generally speaking, although hallucinations are typically thought of as unimodal experiences, 10 of the 12 participants in this study shared that many of their experiences were multimodal, regularly crossing emotional and sensory boundaries. Each participant typically experienced recurring sensations in particular areas of their body during hallucinations in different modalities, including feelings of pain, heat, or tension.

    Analysis of written responses revealed 106 terms pertaining to feelings during hallucinations. The authors found that these divided into four main groups. All but one participant used emotional language, and most of the emotions were negative (eg. fear, powerlessness), with positive emotions only being reported in the minority of cases. Words pertaining to feelings of knowing were employed by half of the participants, who reported a wide range of feelings from boredom all the way to being alert during hallucinatory experiences. Feelings of reality being affected, such as feeling a presence, paranoia, or disorientation, were reported by almost all participants. Participants also reported bodily feelings, such as tiredness or heaviness.

    Taken together, this data clearly illustrates that many hallucinations are in fact multimodal, are commonly associated with bodily sensations, and are often accompanied by unpleasant emotional responses. The exploratory nature of MUSE maps, however, does mean that this approach has some limitations. For example, the team highlights that MUSE maps may miss some pertinent sensations, in part because participants themselves decide which sensations are relevant to report, without too much prompting. Body maps including a back view, as opposed to just the front view used in this study, would also be necessary in future studies. In addition, the low sample size of this research may have failed to capture some aspects of multimodal hallucination experiences, or indeed issues with the MUSE map method. As such, future research looking at expanding the sample size and diversity is needed.

    Even so, these findings echo contemporary research into hallucinations which suggests that multimodal experiences are common, if considerably harder to communicate. This extra layer of difficulty may have led to the general assumption that unimodal hallucinations are more prevalent. But, the authors say, tools such as MUSE maps may help to close this gap in understanding. The extent of hallucinatory experiences illustrated by the MUSE maps in this study suggest that clinicians may wish to consider broadening their assumptions on whether hallucinations are likely to be unimodal, and perhaps even consider modifying their clinical environment to be more comfortable for those with disturbances across multiple senses.

    Article By: L. Barratt – Published In British Psychological Society Research Digest

    Do You Experience Hallucinations?

    If you experience hallucinations without taking substances, it may be that you have an underlying mental health condition. Likewise, if you experience hallucinations while taking substances, it may be the time to reach out and ask for help to quit taking substances that are harmful to your health and well-being. If you’re unsure whether you need help, or have a mental health condition, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and to reach out to your GP, Doctor, community drug and alcohol service or psychotherapist who can discuss your concerns with you and provide treatment should it be necessary.

    You can find a list of groups, organisations and charities that can help you on our help and support page here. REMEMBER… IF IN DOUBT, REACH OUT!!!

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Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

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