Alice in Wonderland Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Alice in Wonderland, is also known as Todd’s syndrome and Lilliputian hallucinations. This is a disoriented neurological condition affecting human perception. Different kinds of sensory modalities are associated with this syndrome – namely, macropsia, micropsia, teleopsia, pelopsia, or size distortion.

Some triggers that lead to this syndrome are brain tumors, migraines, and excessive usage of psychoactive drugs. This syndrome is most commonly seen in young children in their teens. Some researchers say that this can happen due to lack of sleep or abnormal amounts of electrical activity blood flow in some areas of the brain.

alice in wonderland syndrome

Symptoms of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

The primary sign of Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) is a migraine, in fact many doctors say that it is a consequence of migraine and can affect all the key senses like sensation, vision, hearing, touch and also one’s own body image.

Disturbed Body Image

This is a prominent symptom of AIWS where the person will be perplexed about the size and shape of certain body parts or the entire body. The person feels that their body is either expanding or getting smaller to tiniest.

Perception Disturbance

Patients suffering from Alice in Wonderland syndrome get perceptual distortions regarding the size or shape of objects. The visual illusions are categorised into two – micropsia or macropsia. Micropsia means when the person sees the objects smaller than the objects actually are and Macropsia is the opposite when the person sees things larger than it actually is.

Time Loss

The patient can also lose the sense of time, this is a problem which is similar to the lack of spatial perspective. The person might feel that the time is passing too slowly or may be too fast. This distortion of time and space perception can in turn lose the person’s sense of velocity. For example, the patient can be moving along a corridor very slowly in reality but he feels that he is moving very fast and thus starts galloping uncontrollably that suggest a severe, overwhelming disorientation.

Other possible symptoms are high fever, migraine, infectious mononucleosis and using hallucinogenic drugs. Some more severe and rare symptoms are loss of limb control, memory loss, general dis-coordination, sound sensations, lingering touch and emotional experiences

Causes of AIWS

The common causes of AIWS are chronic headaches, migraines, brain tumors, intoxication from hallucinogens, and contraction of the Epstein – Barr virus (EBV). Initially, EBV will bring about high fever, leads to sore throat and also cause lymph nodes, eventually these hallucinogenic symptoms will show up.

Another common cause of AIWS is temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), when a seizure occurs in the temporal lobes and the consequences are varied. Some patients get euphoric, while some experience extreme fear and paranoia.

Treatment of AIWS

The first line of treatment is plenty of rest. Apart from this the treatment for AIWS is similar to that of migraines; like beta blockers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and calcium channel blockers. Additional help can be given with counselling, group therapy and a strictly balanced diet.