The Francis Crick Institute
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An overview of psychological and social factors in Charles Bonnet syndrome.

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-17, 08:44 authored by Lee Jones, Lara Ditzel-Finn, Jamie Enoch, Mariya Moosajee
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a condition where cognitively normal individuals with sight impairment experience simple and/or complex visual hallucinations. The exact pathogenesis of CBS is unknown; however, deafferentation is often recognised as a causal mechanism. Studies have provided insight into the multifaceted impact of CBS on wellbeing. Onset of CBS may cause distress among those believing visual hallucinations are indicative of a neurological condition. Hallucinatory content is often congruent with the emotional response. For example, hallucinations of a macabre nature typically result in a fearful response. Visual hallucinations may be highly disruptive, causing everyday tasks to become challenging. Clinical management relies on forewarning and pre-emptive questioning. Yet, knowledge and awareness of CBS is typically low. In this review, we provide a summary of the social and psychological implications of CBS and explore recent developments aimed at raising awareness and improving patient management.