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Visual hallucinations in consultation-liaison neuropsychiatry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2014

Mark Walterfang*
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Ramon Mocellin
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Dennis Velakoulis
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Dr Mark Walterfang, Neuropsychiatry Unit, Level 2, John Cade Building, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville 3050, Victoria, Australia. Tel: +61 3 93428750; Fax: +61 3 93428483; E-mail:



In consultation-liaison settings, neuropsychiatrists are commonly asked to assess patients with hallucinatory syndromes and to differentiate ‘functional’ from ‘organic’ psychotic presentations.


The occurrence and management of visual hallucinations (VH) in healthy individuals, lesion states, neurodegenerative disorders, intoxication/withdrawal states and delirium are reviewed.


The presence of VH has been shown to predict a secondary rather than primary psychotic illness and an understanding of the neurobiology of the visual system – including how and where underlying neurotransmitter systems interact in visual processing and how perturbations can result in VH – allows for appropriate clinical assessment and management.

Review article
Copyright © 2007 Blackwell Munksgaard

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