What is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is named after a novel that was written by Lewis Carroll. The condition was first illustrated in 1955 by John Todd, a psychiatrist. Todd named it, for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Perchance, Lewis Carroll suffered from severe migraine and the disorder as well.

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a disorienting condition that affects one’s perception. AIWS is a neurological disorder that disturbs signals that are sent from the eyes to the brain, thereby causing a subsequent distortion in perception.

The patient complains of visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations and altered perceptions. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome can be baffling and terrifying for the patient; for he feels he is going mad in a weird world with warped perceptions and hallucinations.

Signs and Symptoms of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

• The foremost symptom of the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is an altered body image. The person observes sizes of parts of the body wrongly. More often than not, the head and hands seem disproportionate; and in general, the person perceives growth of various parts rather than a reduction in their size.

• Another most significant symptom of the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is that the patient perceives the sizes of various other objects inaccurately.

• The trademark symptom of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is migraine.

• The individual loses a sense of time. For him, time seems passes either at a snail's pace, or passes too swiftly.

• Some people experience strong hallucinations; they may visualize things that aren’t there and may also get the wrong impression about certain situations and events.

• Also, like the visual perception gets warped, so does the auditory and tactile perception.

What causes Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

Facts about the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome are still quite ambiguous; actually, not many physicians know about the disorder. The commonest factors linked to AIWS are:

• Typical migraine (an aura, visual derangements, hemi-cranial headache, nausea and vomiting) is an important cause and associated feature of AIWS.

• Temporal lobe epilepsy is another causal factor.

• Brain tumors may trigger temporary AIWS.

• Using psychoactive drugs

• Epstein Barr viral infection is linked to manifestations of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

• Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is relatively common in children.

• Some experts say, AIWS is a common occurrence with some people at sleep onset.

How to Treat Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome has no proven, effective treatment, but treatment programs for the probable causes of the condition are employed to bring about relief.

• In general, the treatment plan consists of giving migraine prophylaxis, (anticonvulsants, anti depressants, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers). Following a migraine diet regimen affords immense too.

• Chronic cases of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome are quite untreatable and must wear out, eventually.

• A person suffering from the disorder may have distortions / hallucinations several times during the day, and the manifestations may take sometime to subside. Justly, the individual may get terrified, anxious and panic-stricken. These manifestations are not detrimental or dangerous, and in all likelihood will fade over a period of time. Rest is the most optimal treatment.

• Doctors advocate joining support or discussion groups; they help you comprehend your problem, communicate experiences with other sufferers, and tackle the condition a lot better.