Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland syndrome occurs when there is disorientation of a person’s perception. It is a neurological condition associated with the signals communicated to the brain from the eyes causing distorted perception. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is also known as Todd’s syndrome. When the signals from the eyes to brain are distorted, a person can experience symptoms like loss of sense, alterations of self-image, and hallucinations.

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Many patients with this condition are able to grow out of it by the time they reach teenage, but some of the symptoms may be experienced throughout the lifespan particularly during the time of sleep onset. A person with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may complain of auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations coupled with distorted perceptions.

A person may also experience distorted touch perception where one feels as though the ground is spongy, right under the feet. This happens because the sensation experienced from touching or feeling something is unrecognized or it is incorrect. Distorted sound perception may also be experienced. This condition can make a patient become baffled and terrified with a feeling of going mad because of the hallucinations and warped perceptions.

Causes  

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome can be caused by different factors, which interfere with the way in which the brain communicates with the eyes. The signal receptors can be affected by things like intoxication with hallucinogens, migraine headaches, and tumors in the brain, headaches, and Epstein-Barr viral infection. In the initial stages of Epstein-Barr virus infection, a patient may hallucinate. This virus causes fever, swollen spleen, sore throat, and inflamed lymph nodes.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is often a precursor to another condition known as mononucleosis.  Another cause associated with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is temporal lobe epilepsy. If there is a seizure within the temporal lobes, it may lead to hallucinogenic symptoms. Use of psychoactive drugs can tripper the onset of symptoms . Some people experience the condition during the onset of their sleep.

Symptoms

If a person has this condition, there is altered perception on body images. This is the most common symptom of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. A person sees the sizes of the body parts disproportionately. A person may have a perceived disproportionate or incorrect size in head and hands. In addition, a person with the condition perceives incorrect size of other objects. The most disturbing symptoms are those related to alteration of body image.

A person with the condition may even be confused about his or her body size and shape.  Although the eyes are normal, a person sees objects in incorrect size and shape. For example, a person may see cars, people, and buildings in their incorrect size. These objects may appear larger or smaller. In the same way, distances may also look incorrect such as a corridor, which appears short instead of appearing long.

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Migraine headache may be common with people suffering from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Moreover, there is loss of sense in time in which a person’s time may pass very slowly or it may seem to be passing very fast. To some extent, some patients may have hallucinations where they visualize things which are actually not there. Because of the hallucinations, patients may get wrong impressions on events, situations, or other things. Auditory and tactile perceptions are also affected. 

Treatment

Although there is not any proven effective treatment, much of the treatment of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may be directed to the symptoms. One way of managing the condition is by having plenty of rest. This is a common treatment for people with this condition. Other treatments for the condition are those similar for patients with migraines. 

Medications like antidepressants, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers may be used in treating the condition. Moreover, there are alternative therapies applied to treat Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. If a patient is experiencing the condition due to effects caused by temporal lobe epilepsy, medications like topamax, neurontin, lamictal, and Phenobarbital are used to treat the epilepsy, which may in turn offer relieve of the symptoms of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. 

To effectively tackle this condition, different treatment programs may be required depending on the probable cause. Besides the migraine medication such as antidepressants and beta blockers, a patient may be restricted to a migraine diet to help relieve the symptoms. Although a person with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may experience hallucinations and distortions of images, these perceptions or manifestations may only last for a while and they subside. The hallucinations can occur numerous times during the day.

The problem with these distortions and hallucinations is that a patient become terrified and may be panic-stricken. Nonetheless, these distortions may not be dangerous or detrimental and will fade out with time. When a patient experiences such distortions during the day, resting may be the most effective way to get out the perceptions.

It is recommended that a patient joints support groups and communities in order to learn how to cope with the condition. Engaging in group discussions about the experiences people are going through from this condition can help bring hope and well-being to the person. A person is able to get support and a psychological understanding of the nature of the condition, something that can aid in tackling the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome better.

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