Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a rare condition wherein a person experiences episodes of distorted perception and disorientation due to some changes in the brain. For example, the person may feel larger or smaller than they are and objects tend to see further away or closer than they actually are. There could also be a loss of the sense of time. It leads to distortion in various senses like vision, touch, and hearing.
It is also known as Todd’s syndrome and closely resembles episodes experienced by the protagonist of Lewis Carroll’s novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. It is mostly seen in children and young adults.
These episodes last for varying times and are different for different people. The typical symptoms include migraine, size distortion, perceptual distortion, time and sound distortion, loss of limb control, or coordination control.
The cause of AWS is not certain. Hallucinations, eye problems, and neurological problems have been ruled out. Researchers say that migraines are the leading cause of this syndrome in adults. For children, the primary cause is infections. Other causes could be stress, cough medicine, use of hallucinogen drops, epilepsy, stroke, and brain tumor. The risk factors include migraines, infections like Epstein-Bar Virus (EBV) and genetics.
There is no treatment for AWS. The best way to handle it is to rest and wait for the episode to pass. Treating the underlying causes, such as migraines, would help to prevent future episodes. Overall, the symptoms aren’t harmful and most people outgrow them over time.