Breaking News

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Viewing the World with a Distorted Lens

A distortion in visual perception is the daily struggle of those who suffer from the condition called Alice in Wonderland Syndrome / Photo by Bao via Shutterstock.com

 

Seeing the world from a literally different perspective can be scary for others. Having a distorted perception of the size of objects, places, animals and even one’s own body parts accompanied by an impaired sense of distance is a daily struggle for those who suffer from the condition called Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS). This rare mental disorder is found to be more prevalent in adults than in children. The experience of being affected by this mental condition is described by the Online Psychology Degree Guide as an “LSD trip without the euphoria.” It was first recorded in 1955 by Dr. John Todd, a British Psychiatrist.

What is Alice In Wonderland Syndrome?

Wisegeek defines Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) as “a neurological disorder that disrupts the messages sent from the eyes to the brain, causing a corresponding distortion in visual perception.” This condition is also known by the names micropsia and Todd’s Syndrome.

The mental condition was named after the novel written by Lewis Carroll titled Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the story, Alice becomes smaller after drinking a potion with the label “Drink me” a little while after she enters the rabbit hole. Then, she eats a cake which has “Eat me”. Consuming the cake makes her grow into an enormous size, which helps her obtain a key placed on a high table.

Causes

How Stuff Works states that the triggers of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome include having a brain tumor, migraines, getting infected by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), headaches, getting intoxicated by hallucinogens, and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). In addition, stress, stroke, depression, and schizophrenia are also said to induce AIWS. Certain medications, such as allergy medicine, cough syrups, and anti-seizure drugs are also said to trigger it.

Some professionals speculate that it is caused by some changes in the Parietal lobe, the region of the brain involved in processing sensory information. They suspect that a shift in the flow of blood because of the peculiar amount of electricity being sent to the Parietal lobe may be the reason for acquiring Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Symptoms

Individuals who suffer from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may see things as larger or smaller than they really are and may also view them as nearer or farther than their actual distance. Their sense of touch and hearing may also be affected. Patients with AIWS may also experience hallucinations and a broken vision, similar to a mosaic. One kind of hallucination they may undergo is the auditory hallucination, in which the sounds they hear are also distorted. Sounds to them may be louder or softer than their real volume and they may also sound nearer or farther compared to the actual distance of the sound. They may also get sensations of passing through walls or sinking into the floor.

People who are affected by the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may feel scared and confused. Fortunately, the Medical Bag says that an episode of AIWS does not last long and that it subsides in less than an hour. However, it may happen frequently throughout the day along with the surfacing of its symptoms. Motorsportformen.com says that a child usually begins experiencing symptoms of  Alice in Wonderland at six years old, but as they reach their twenties, those symptoms fade.

According to WebMD, a person going through an episode of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome may display the following symptoms:

1. Objects and body parts are perceived to be larger or smaller than their actual size.

2. Straight lines appearing wavy.

3. Objects that are stationary look as if they are moving.

4. Three-dimensional objects appear to be flat.

5. Objects appear to shift into different colors or lean to one side.

6. Faces will appear warped to them.

7. Colors may also appear excessively bright.

Treatment

Although there are no identified treatment methods made specifically to adress Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, there are some recommended ways to deal with this condition. Patients may try going through group therapy.

If they want to seek medication, doctors may prescribe some medicines such as blood pressure medicines and antidepressants. A change in diet may also help keep them from having migraines. It is suggested that they consume more vegetables, fruits, eggs, poultry, meat, and fish. Rather than having just three meals with a day, they may opt to have six smaller meals. They are also told to avoid foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), processed meats, alcohol and the sweetener aspartame as this may lead them to experience more headaches.

Since there are no studies about clinically proven treatments for AIWS, it may be more effective for the patient to find ways to lessen the occurrences of their migraines and headaches or to treat other medical conditions, such as epilepsy, that may have instigated its development.

It is said that Alice in Wonderland often goes away on its own as a person progresses into adulthood.

 

Antidepressants may be prescribed to patients who seek for medication / Photo by Esoxx via Shutterstock.com

 

SIMIALR POST