The Zheng’s are advised not to react to these with fear or tell Dr Zheng what he is seeing isn’t really there. Validation therapy is sometimes helpful and advocates that rather than trying to bring Dr Zheng back to their reality, they enter his reality. This develops empathy with the person and facilitates trust and a sense of security. Rather than correcting Dr Zheng’s beliefs, his family will aim to acknowledge and empathise with his feelings. For example, ”don’t worry, the snake won’t bite Jeremy. He is safe in his bedroom”.

Dr Zheng has only had one episode of visual hallucinations that really frightened him. He is not showing other signs of psychosis or overly aggressive behaviour, so pharmacotherapy is not considered appropriate at this time. If his hallucinations worsen, or if he becomes more aggressive or psychotic in the future, treatment with low dose Haloperidol or Risperidone may be considered to try and reduce his distressing symptoms.  It is important to use very low doses to avoid harmful side effects.