Severe hallucinations during intubation - ICUsteps


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Severe hallucinations during intubation


I'm sorry that other individuals are going through similar issues. I have been intubated twice now for pulmonary infections and put on a ventilator. Each time I have severe hallucinations. The things I have experienced in these hallucinations seem so real. When the medical staff would bring me out slightly and I obviously couldn't speak, write or move very well. I was not able to express my extreme fear. Now I believe I am dealing with PTSD from the hallucinations. Have others had any experiences like this. Thank you for listening.

11 Replies

Hi, yes I to have been incubated and had dreadfull hallusinations, I so understand. They are so real and even now I struggle with things in the light of day. I did find writing things down helped. Maybe go to your Dr, you should have some aftercare support. It so natraul to feel this way you have been through so much traumer it will take time. I'm taking things a day at a time. Feel free to message if you want to chat. Wish you all the best.


in reply to Amslovessparkle

Thank Amanda,

Yes writting and talking about it helps. Sorry you are struggling as well. It has all been scary. But knowing that I am not the only one that has happened to, helps.



Amslovessparkle profile image
Amslovessparkle in reply to

I to have been incubated twice, it is so scary. I found here a great help.


angelrock profile image
angelrock in reply to

It is indeed frightening and a very scary experience.

HI Kricket, I don't know if PTSD causes hallucinations or the other way around. The hallucinations do seem very real and I've been there myself. The delusions and phantasms we experience are not caused by the original condition that resulted in your hospitalization but by the drugs used to keep you sedated. These include, and you may not have been administered all or any of them, from my research, fentanyl, ketamine, benzodiazepine and our old friend morphine.

One of these, or perhaps a combination of one or more, steps heavily on the 'fight or flight' button located in the hypothalamus generating irrational or unsubstantiated FEAR. There may be nothing happening to be fearful of, other than your concern about the physical condition you're in which can be very scary on it's own, but it happens anyway hence nightmares. Benzodiazepines are use in an attempt to ameliorate the effect but it doesn't work for everyone. The others all have psychoactive properties sometimes referred to as psychedelic drugs, these are what clothe the hallucinations and generate the sensation that the dreams are real.

When you're waking from sedation, the dreams and the real world overlap, like looking through two, or more, photographic slides at the same time. Very confusing but what the medics like to say is, "Don't worry, it's normal." What they really mean by 'normal' is 'expected', as in we see this a lot.

If you are able to Google the term 'Emergence Phenomena', I only recently discovered this myself, it means that as the patient emerges from sedation they bring their dreams and hallucinations with them into the 'real world'. But check it out it might help.

Best Wishes for a complete recovery,


in reply to comadreams

Thank you David for your reply. I talked with my family and they said that my brain function would spike and then bottom out when they tried to bring me out of the induced coma. Which is exactly what you explained, where the dreams and reality over lap. It makes sense. I will definitely look up "Emergence Phenomena". I'm having PTSD from the dreams/hallucinations. There is one part where they had me on a paralytic. I get triggered somehow and start having flashes back to not being able to move. Which starts an anxiety attack. But I am trying to get professional help. I can't get through this alone. Sorry to hear that you have had this happen to you as well. My prayers are with you and your loved ones.



I was intubated and put into a coma for the best part of two months. It took a further 11 days to wake me. I had incredibly lucid, debased and revoltingly debauched, often extremely violent dreams. They often involved my closest and dearest friends & relatives - the nightmares were elaborate conspiracies- when I woke up - I was unsure what was real and I still mistrusted everyone. Towards the end - they also portrayed a distorted image of the hospital lay-out that I languished in, so in some small part, although I was unconscious, I was still 'aware' of my surroundings. I quickly appreciated they were terrible dark fantasies, unlike a normal nightmare, because I was so heavily sedated - I couldn't wake from them - so my mind spun from one awful nightmare to the next. After waking from the coma, I didn't sleep for 3 days - maybe it was being so chemically wired or from fear of dreaming again. Some people have these recurring dreams for some time after ICU. I have had only one since leaving hospital in Aug 2016, I spoke to my wife, Physios at hospital, I talked to friends about my concerns etc etc. I needed to de-stress myself. I found forums like this and realised I was not alone. We are a unique set of people - gone past our sell by date - but here and alive - braving the future like we have the past. Wishing you peace and sleep.


About five years ago I had open heart surgery that was followed by severe complications of DIC which resulted in multi organ failure and strokes. I was intubated 9 days and in coma 10 and had a near death experience. I had hallucinations or visions or dreams thru out my 2 weeks in ICU. They mirrored my illness of which I have no recall. They are as clear today as 5 years ago, but the PTSD has cleared, and I am not bothered by their memory anymore.

I found this site, a good therapist, friends and family helpful in healing. I also became clear about who I could talk to about my experience...who could just listen. It got better for me;I believe I it will for you too. Keep writing, and getting support. Some hospitals have post-ICU support groups that some on this site found helpful.

Hi, after my husband told me of the bizarre and sometimes frightening dreams he had during his 2 week coma last year, I decided to collect as many as I could for a book.

Do you have any that you would like to share? Or know anyone that might?

Contact me here.

Thank you


hey , my sister recently had a stroke, she has been placed in a incubated coma, they were bringing her out of the coma , but not giving her any sedatives or propathal. My sister became alert , but was trying to pull the venilator out, so they mitted her , now she seems agitated and upset. I was unaware my sister could be hallucinating? Wow explains alot

Thank you all for your help. Just getting back to normal.

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