Hallucinations arising in the context of torn attachment, traumatic childhood and tapeworms

Brian Power, C. Goossens

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the processes underlying psychotic symptoms in an adolescent who presented to our service at the age of 15 years.Conclusion: sA teenage female presented having experienced her early childhood in a war-torn third-world country, during which time her mother died, and she suffered worm infestation, neglect and trauma, before being adopted by a family in a developed country, where she lived for several years prior to relocating to Australia. The presenting complaints included longstanding anxiety, depressive and dissociative symptoms, with subsequent behavioural problems and learning difficulties. More recently, she had developed auditory hallucinations, and the antipsychotic she had been taking was beneficial. An MRI of the brain demonstrated lesions in keeping with healed parasitic disease (neurocysticercosis). The patient's hallucinations are discussed in the context of the relationship between a traumatic childhood and psychosis, and neurocysticercosis. Within months of her presentation, the hallucinations resolved as her step-mother became more available. Her antipsychotic medication is being carefully decreased, and the patient is engaging in psychological therapies to deal with her past trauma and disrupted attachment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)240-242
    JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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