Exploding Head Syndrome: Explained

The exploding head syndrome is a parasomnia which is a sleep disorder, that is very rare and there have not been that many record cases of it around the world. Under this particular parasomnia, the individual suffering from the syndrome experiences an extremely loud sound or bang sound in his or her head. This sound is said to be similar to the sound made when a bomb explodes, or when a gun goes off.

The noises that the respective patient hears are loud and said to be indecipherable. These also seem to originate from inside the head of the individual suffering from exploding head syndrome.

exploding head syndromeCharacteristics:

An aspect of the exploding head syndrome that deviates from the name is the fact that the explosion in the head does not have the elements of pain or swelling. In other words, the elements of such physical pain etc. that are generally associated with an explosion are lacking in this syndrome.

Even though the symptoms and the effects of the syndrome do not include pain, the explosion does terrify the individual. As per record instances, an individual believe that he/ she is suffering from a heart attack and hence get immensely terrified. Some people may also witness a bright flash of light along with the sound, or experience a muscle jerk during the episode.

Causes Unknown:

The causes of the exploding head syndrome are yet unknown to the medical fraternity. However, many physicians have found that there may be a strong correlation between the syndrome episodes and excessive fatigue. People who are experiencing withdrawal from certain drugs may also experience this syndrome as a side effect to the withdrawal.

Occurrence/ Frequency:

The attacks/ episodes of explosion have no definite frequency. Some people may experience rare attacks while for come it can be once every night. There have been instances of the attacks disappearing altogether or for some long periods. The rate of the incidences and the frequency is higher for women as against men.

In addition, those aged above 50 years are the ones most likely to have this syndrome and experience the explosions. With this being the general case, there have been reports of children aged as low as 10 years experiencing the exploding head syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

It is essential for an individual to meet with a doctor and give them full sleep history if they wish to diagnose the disorder. The doctors may need to know the exact time when the sounds/ explosions started, the kind and other medical details to ascertain that it is exploding head syndrome.

The drug/ medication most commonly used and found to be effective in countering the syndrome is an anti-depressant called clomipramine. Since many instances of the syndrome are related to stress in life, another way of treating the syndrome is by eliminating the stress. The most common ways of de-stressing are exercising/ yoga, listening to relaxing music, reading books and taking a hot/ relaxing bath before going to sleep.

Another treatment advice laid out to individuals suffering from prolonged syndrome is to lead a more balanced and controlled life.