Tactile hallucination

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A tactile hallucination is the experience of perceiving a convincing physical sensation which is not actually occurring.[1][2] Common examples of this can include people or insects[3] touching the body in various places and in a wide variety of ways. Alternatively, these hallucinations can be felt as complex and structured arrangements of vibration across the skin.

This effect may be also accompanied by visual hallucinations of a plausible cause of the sensation. For example, during internal and external hallucinations one may be able to touch and feel imagined objects or autonomous entities just as convincingly as within normal everyday dreams. The sensations that are possible within these hallucinations are near limitless and can even include pain or sexual pleasure.

Tactile hallucinations are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of deliriant compounds, such as DPH, datura, and benzydamine. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of psychedelics, stimulant psychosis[4] and extreme sleep deprivation.

Levels of hallucination

Note that not all detailed effects are not universal, instead, it gives an overall idea of intensity of effect. Every substance has more or less unique hallucinatory state progression.

  1. Partial hallucination: An already-existing touching sensation or very warmth of the body might move or have an unexpected details such as warmth and pressure. Effect is still minor and might feel more imagination than actually perceived effect.
  2. Full hallucination: Effect is clear and indistinguishable from real sensations. It can have any kind of biologically possible details and either replicate realistic ideas but might just as well stay abstract.
  3. Extended hallucination: With this level on the sensations can mix and blur out with other concepts such as spatial awareness and yield otherworldly experiences. The one could physically sense detailed presence of invisible entities and objects, possess nonexistent or impossible body parts, physically being part of non-self object-entity or one could even experience physical effects from abstract thoughts. (synesthesia)


While details are given as in two opposite possibilities, the experiences often have details from the both ends.

  • All-encompassing vs. Location specific: The sensations can be limited to small areas or be all-body-encompassing.
  • Interactive vs. Static: The effect can be intricate to create immersive interaction with entities and objects or have stay as a static plot or even as completely inanimate awareness.
  • Clear sensations vs. Mixed sensations: Biologically realistic sensations include temperature, touch, pressure, pain and physical orientation. These often mix over areas and animated forms for confusing combinations, such as electricity.
  • Realistic texture vs. Abstract texture: Perceived textures can mimic those of real objects or be completely made up from unique collages of other tactile properties.
  • Euphoric vs. Dysphoric: Sensations usually carry out either instantaneous positive or negative feedback.

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

Experience reports

Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:

See also

External links


  1. Tactile hallucinations: conceptual and historical aspects | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC491362/
  2. Tactile hallucinations: conceptual and historical aspects | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19521636
  3. Delusory Parasitosis by Nancy C. Hinkle | https://web.archive.org/web/20121021033308/http://www.ent.uga.edu/pubs/delusory.pdf
  4. Tactile hallucinations with repetitive movements following low-dose cocaine: implications for cocaine reinforcement and sensitization: case report. (ncbi) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23414508