hallucinated headache

hallucinated headache
   A term introduced in or shortly before 1962 by the American psychiatrist Gordon Forrer to denote a type of headache conceptually related to the * psychogenic headache. Proceeding from the thesis that hallucinations can occur in any of the sensory modalities, Forrer argues that pain, especially in the form of a headache, can also present in a hallucinated form. In conformity with the psychoanalytic dictum that hallucinations arise as a consequence of either actual or affective hunger, he envisages hallucinated headache as a means for the affected individual "to fill what would otherwise be perceived as an intolerable psychic emptiness". In other words, Forrer suggests that the victim of hallucinated headache subconsciously 'prefers' a headache over feelings of emptiness, and thus 'creates' it to fill the intolerable void. Forrer's position on this issue has not gone unchallenged. Apart from his appeal to the psychoanalytic theory, it is the concept of hallucinated pain that has been widely criticized. As noted by the American logician and philosopher of language Saul Kripke (b. 1940), pain constitutes the example par excellence of a feeling that cannot under any circumstance be designated as 'false' or 'hallucinated'. (For a further discussion of this topic see the entry Hallucinated pain syndrome.) In Forrer's defence, however, attention may be drawn to the experience of dentists and other health professionals that feelings of physical pain are not seldom expressed moments before a tooth or other body part is touched, and to the experience of hypnotists that pain can be evoked or aggravated as well as alleviated through suggestion. Forrer proposes to classify hallucinated headache as a variant of the * somatic hallucination.
   Forrer, G.R. (1962). Hallucinated headache. Psychosomatics, 3, 120-128. Kripke, S. (1980). Naming and necessity.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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