Perceptual Disturbance Treatment

Perceptual disturbances is a term used to describe symptoms where a person may not be experiencing reality as it truly is. While it may be disconcerting for others to witness, the reality is that living with perceptual disturbances is much more difficult. 

Clinic Les Alpes reaches out its hands to those suffering from perceptual disturbances, and offers an opportunity to understand and cope in new ways. With 24/7 medical care available, we understand that treatment starts from a place of compassion and respect. In building trust with our patients, we hope to offer them a chance to start their recovery journey with us.

Why Choose to Recover from Perceptual Disturbances in a Swiss Clinic

Coping with everyday stressors can become so overwhelming and frightening for those suffering from perceptual disturbances. The hustle and bustle of daily life can not only make these symptoms worse, but for those who have never experienced treatment it can also make it difficult to find good coping strategies to manage those symptoms. Taking some time to step away from the stress and into recovery in the safety and luxury of Clinic Les Alpes enables you to learn the tools you need to live the life you want. 

Nestled in the serene mountains alongside Lake Geneva, we offer an opportunity for 24/7 medical care in a warm and supportive environment that promotes recovery and empowerment. With a multidisciplinary team of experts in house, you and your loved ones can feel secure that you are receiving the very best care in utmost confidentiality. Start your recovery journey surrounded by unspoiled nature and compassionate professionals, and move towards the life you’ve always wanted.

What Are Perceptual Disturbances?

Perceptual disturbances are symptoms of illnesses that are related to alterations or abnormalities in the way people perceive sensory information in their environment. This means they may hear, see, feel, taste, or smell things that are not really there. Perceptual disturbances are often associated with psychiatric or neurological conditions and can manifest in different forms. 

Some illnesses that commonly involved perceptual disturbances include, but are not limited to: 

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Psychosis
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Epileptic Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder

Perceptual Disturbance Symptoms: What Are the Signs of Perceptual Disturbances?

As mentioned before, there is a range of illnesses that can present with perceptual disturbances. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of such disturbances can be varied. Some general signs and symptoms that are typically associated with perceptual disturbances include but are not limited to: 


  • Auditory Hallucinations:Hearing sounds, voices, or noises that others do not.
  • Visual Hallucinations:Seeing images, objects, or people that are not present.
  • Olfactory Hallucinations:Perceiving smells that are not there.
  • Gustatory Hallucinations:Experiencing abnormal tastes.
  • Illusions: Distorted perceptions of real external stimuli. For example, seeing a shadow and interpreting it as a threatening figure.
  • Depersonalisation: Feeling detached or disconnected from one's own body or thoughts.
  • Derealisation: Sensation that the external world is unreal or distorted.
  • Alterations in Time Perception: Feeling that time is passing too quickly or too slowly.
  • Disorganised Thinking: Difficulty organising thoughts, leading to confusion or incoherent speech.
  • Distorted Self-Perception: Seeing oneself differently than others do or having an altered sense of identity.
  • Heightened Sensitivity or Numbness:Unusual sensitivity to stimuli (hypersensitivity) or a lack of sensation (numbness).
  • Memory Disturbances: Difficulty recalling information or forming new memories.
  • Emotional Disturbances:Sudden or intense shifts in emotions without an apparent cause.
  • Feeling of Unreality:A persistent sense that the world is not real or that one's surroundings are unfamiliar.

Most people will have some of these experiences at some point throughout their life, but if the symptoms are becoming overwhelming, or impacting on your daily quality of life,  it may be time to seek professional help and support. Attending a rehabilitation centre can be a great way to start your recovery journey by addressing not only the perceptual disturbances, but also the root causes of why you are experiencing perceptual disturbances in the first place. 

What Happens in Perceptual Disturbance Rehabilitation?


During your first 5-10 days after admission, you will go through a series of assessments with the medical and therapeutic teams in order to determine your current physical and psychological health. These assessments allow your treatment team to create an individualised treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. However, this process is done at the speed of the patient, and if there is a period of adjustment required for the patient to feel safe and stable then this process may be slightly longer. 


Once you have your personalised treatment plan, you will start your treatment process. This involves daily one-to-one individual therapy sessions with your lead therapist, regular consultations with a psychiatrist, and the chance to experience a wide array of therapeutic interventions from our world-class clinical team in group therapy. Many who experience perceptual disturbances find that alternative complementary therapies are helpful when it comes to managing their symptoms. This can include equine therapy, dance and music therapy, art therapy, ayurvedic treatments, massage, acupuncture, sound bowl meditation, and more. 


Long-term management of perceptual disturbances is key to maintaining a good quality of life for those who suffer from them. Before graduating from treatment you will participate in constructing a strong aftercare plan. This means that you will be referred to appropriate professionals who can continue walking alongside you and supporting you in managing your illness and maintaining good mental health. 

What Causes Perceptual Disturbances, And Who Gets Them?

Just as there is a wide range of illnesses that are associated with perceptual disturbances, there is a wide range of people who may experience them. People can become unwell across various different age groups, backgrounds, and demographics. Some common factors that contribute to causing perceptual disturbances include, but are not limited to:

  • Mental Health Disorders: Some illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or psychotic disorders include perceptual disturbances as a hallmark symptom
  • Substance Use: There are many drugs that cause perceptual disturbances when used, most commonly hallucinogenic drugs, however severe use can result in long-term disturbances continuing despite cessation of the drug
  • Neurological Conditions: Some conditions like epilepsy or migraines can cause altered perceptions and disturbances
  • Trauma and Stress: Flashbacks and altered perceptions of reality are common among those attempting to cope with past traumas or high levels of stress
  • Sleep Deprivation: Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to hallucinations and altered perceptions
  • Genetic Predisposition:Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to certain mental health disorders that include perceptual disturbances
  • Sensory Deprivation or Overstimulation:Extreme conditions, such as isolation or sensory overload, may affect perception

It is important to remember that perceptual disturbances are symptoms rather than standalone conditions. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for appropriate treatment. Factors such as genetics, environmental influences, and individual resilience can all contribute to why someone may develop and experience perceptual disturbances. 

If someone is experiencing persistent or distressing perceptual disturbances, it is very important to seek professional evaluation and treatment. Mental health professionals, psychiatrists, and neurologists can conduct assessments to determine the root cause and develop a tailored treatment plan for managing these symptoms. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Can people be treated for perceptual disturbances? 

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. For mental health disorders, psychotherapy, medication, and supportive interventions may be recommended. Substance-induced perceptual disturbances may improve with cessation of drug use. Other causes may require more specific interventions, which is part of why a thorough, multidisciplinary diagnostic process is so important..

Can perceptual disturbances go away on their own? 

The resolution of perceptual disturbances depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, addressing the root issue, such as treating a mental health disorder or discontinuing substance use, can lead to improvement. Professional guidance is essential for appropriate management of these symptoms. 

Are perceptual disturbances, or the people who experience them, dangerous?

There is a stereotype and stigma that those who are mentally unwell are dangerous; however, the reality is that those who are mentally ill are statistically far more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. The level of danger involved with perceptual disturbances depends on what the disturbance is, and the underlying cause of the disturbances. 

If you feel that you, or someone you care about, is in immediate danger, please call emergency services. If the danger is not immediate, but you are concerned about someone’s long-term safety, seeking professional medical help is essential to treating and managing perceptual disturbances. 

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