Health - Conditions
By: - at July 13, 2013

What is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome and How Can You Treat the Symptoms

Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a condition linked with interruptions of the nervous system throughout the body. This neurological disorder causes distortions in perception. It can affect children and adults, but most people are likely to experience it later in life. Children who suffer the symptoms may grow out of them by the time they reach the teenage age. Although this condition is not life threatening, it can cause a lot of discomfort and terrifying experiences since it induces symptoms of loss of senses, and distorted perception of images as well as objects. A person with Alice in Wonderland syndrome sees objects in incorrect sizes and has tactile, auditory and visual hallucinations.


How does Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Occur?
Alice in Wonderland syndrome is caused by factors that affect the way in which the neurological mechanism in the body is initiated. Interruptions in electrical waves in the body can trigger distortions in perception. The signals that conduct communication between the brain to the eyes is altered. This ultimately causes a psychological change resulting in the flow of blood to the brain. The warping of signal communication from brain to eyes can be caused by things like intoxication as a result of hallucinogens, attacks by migraine headaches, development of brain tumors, and a possible infection from Epstein-Barr virus.

Woman having a migraineIn a migraine attack, a patient may experience an aura, hemi-cranial headache and visual derangement, which can lead to Alice in Wonderland syndrome. A seizure in the temporal lobes may cause temporal lobe epilepsy that can also lead to Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Temporal lobes are regions of the brain that make up the cerebral cortex. These temporal lobes are involved in the initiation of sensory input, production of language and speech, organizing auditory and visual perception, and memory formation. During the initial stage of Epstein-Barr virus, a patient may experience symptoms like hallucinations when the condition affects the brain and nervous system.

Parts of the brain

Psychoactive drugs are medications used in the treatment of psychological problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression and work by acting upon the body’s nervous system. These drugs alter the functions of the brain resulting in brief changes in cognition, mood, perception, behavior and the consciousness of a person. Such substances are believed to cause changes in brain signals which may result in Alice in Wonderland syndrome.

How Can You Detect that a Person has Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?
Eye making perceptionThe most common symptom of Alice in Wonderland syndrome is the change in image perception. A person with this condition sees images of objects incorrectly in both shape and size. Body parts like heads and hands appear to be strangely sized and shaped.. A patient may see his or her body disproportionate, where parts of the body appear outgrown rather than appearing in their normal size. Objects are also perceived incorrectly in size.

Another symptom is migraine attacks, where the patient has a persistent headache. From this condition, the sense of time is also altered as one may experience slow or swift passing of time. Hallucinations are also experienced with patients suffering from Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Visual hallucinations cause a person to see things, which are not there in the real sense, or things, which are there but are seen incorrectly.


Auditory hallucination also referred to as paracusia can occur in a person with Alice in Wonderland syndrome, where a patient hears sounds without an external stimulus. Moreover, tactile hallucinations can occur where by the patient feels a sense of touch on the skin when there is nothing to stimulate the touch. A person may feel a sense of touch when he or she sees another person being touched. When a patient has distorted touch perception, there is an illusion of tactile sensory input, which causes a stimulation of pressure on the skin.

How is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Treated?
There is no specific effective treatment for Alice in Wonderland syndrome but there are therapies which can help manage the underlying cause of the condition. Many people who suffer from the condition in their early age (childhood) are able to grow out of the disorder by their adolescent age. Because patients suffer from migraine headaches, treatment plans for migraines are developed which may include a medication regiment.

PrescriptionsUse of medications like anticonvulsants, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and anti depressants are recommended. When hallucinations and distortions in perception occur, taking a nap can help in managing their symptoms. Although such disruptions in perception may not be dangerous, they can cause terrifying experiences and an overwhelming sense of panic. Migraine headache can also be managed through dietary changes.  Furthermore there have been studies hinting at the medicinal uses of hallucinogenic mushrooms for migraines.  Some patients testify that by taking a small amount of magic mushrooms every six months can help keep away migraines and allow patients to sleep better and more soundly.   Usual doses range from 2 to 3 grams semiannually. 

Patients are advised to get involved in support groups where they discuss the experiences they have had  and how best they can cope with it. If the Alice in Wonderland syndrome is caused by temporal lobe epilepsy, there are different medications that can be used such as Keppra, Zonegran, Lamictal, and Topamax. These medications should be administered only under the close supervision of a doctor.

In summary, Alice in Wonderland syndrome can be managed by treating the causal factors and taking sufficient rest when the hallucinations occur. A patient should share their experiences in support groups in order to learn how to best cope with the condition.





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