Rare and scary condition- Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

alice in wonderland syndrome

The majority of our readers should have been heard about the Alice in Wonderland, a fictional novel written by Lewis Carroll that we all love. However, we are going to talk about the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome today.

The people who have read that novel and watched the movie based on it should have been aware of the neurological problems that Alice experiences. It includes experiencing the world shifting again and again, shrinking of objects and many other related symptoms.  The novel may be fictional, but the symptoms experienced by Alice are real for lots of individuals.

This condition was named as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome by English psychiatrist John Todd in 1955 after the novel character. We are going to talk about it in briefly today.


What is Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) can be defined as a neurological condition that results in altering the visual perception of the patients. The people affected by this condition often experience changes in the sizes of the objects. According to a research, about 10-15 % people of the total population experience it at least once in their life.  It is also known by the names of Todd’s syndrome or Lilliputian Hallucinations.

It is one of the rare conditions that mostly happen in kids and younger adults. This disease has a close association with the brain tumors, migraines and use of psychoactive drugs. However, the doctors aren’t quite sure why these unusual changes in perception have been experienced by the people. The majority of people often get out of this disease by their early 20s. However, there are many people who experience the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome symptoms throughout their entire life.

alice in wonderland syndrome symptoms

The people dealing with this condition feel that the objects around them are either larger or smaller than normal, much similar to the popular character Alice experiences in the Lewis Carroll’s novel. According to the people, the Carroll was suffering himself from this condition and he uses it as an inspiration for his writing. However, no one knows it is a reality or a myth?


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Symptoms


There are lots of symptoms associated with the AIWS that vary from one patient to another. Another interesting thing about the Alice in Wonder Syndrome symptoms is that none of them can be experienced together at the same time. All of the symptoms are different and experienced for a period of 5 to 20 minutes.

Have a look at the major symptoms of the AIWS mentioned below:

  • Micropsia

In this symptom, the objects look smaller than they really are. This condition is caused by a range of optical factors that include swelling of the cornea, changes in the retina shape or image distortion in the eyes.


  • Macropsia

It is completely reversed of the symptoms that are experienced by the people in the micropsia. During macropsia, the objects look larger than its normal size. This condition is caused by a range of causes that include a migraine, structural defects, epilepsy, certain medications and much more.


  • Teleopsia

One of the most common Alice in Wonderland Syndrome symptoms is Teleopsia, which is a vision perception disorder. In this condition, the objects looked much more away than they really are. This disease has a close association with the AIWS.


  • Pelopsia

Pelopsia is another symptom that the people can experience in this neurological condition. The objects appeared to be nearer than they originally are in this vision perception disorder.


  • Metamorphopsia

It is another vision defect in which a straight line looks wavy to the patient. Additionally, some parts of the line may appear blank.


  • Other Conditions

There are many people who have experienced other symptoms while dealing with AIWS that include color becoming extra bright than normal, changes in the color of the objects or faces appearing distorted.

alice in wonderland syndrome treatments



Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Causes


Generally, this condition takes place for very short intervals that make it tougher for the specialists to discover the exact cause. According to a leading research institute, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is caused by the following diseases:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Brain Tumors
  • Epstein- Barr Virus Contraction (EBV)
  • Intoxication from Hallucinogens


If the main cause of AIWS is EBV, then the patient may have to deal with lymph nodes, swollen spleen, fever and sore throat. Along with the above causes, temporal epilepsy is another common cause of this condition in which a seizure appears in the temporal lobes.


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Diagnosis


The people who think they have AIWS should book an appointment with the neurologist as soon as possible. They are those specialists who deal with problems related to the spinal cord, nerves, and brain. During diagnosis, the neurologist will ask about the symptoms and the patient’s history with the migraines.

According to the patient condition, the specialist may suggest any of the following tests:

  • Blood Tests

The patient’s blood sample will be taken by the medical staff. It is generally taken for checking out if they have the Epstein-Barr virus or any other virus that has developed AIWS.


  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The main purpose of this scan is to create a detailed image of the patient’s brain. MRI uses powerful radio waves for doing this work.


  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)

During this medical test, the electrical activity in the brain is measured.


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Treatments


There is no effective treatment for this condition, but the patients can avoid the sensations by remaining away from things that can trigger their migraines. Some of the medicines suggested by the doctors to treat Alice in Wonderland Syndrome are mentioned below:

  • Anti-seizure drugs like valproate and topiramate
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medicines that include beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers

The neurologist can also suggest you make modifications in your diet that can treat many of the symptoms. Check out some of the tips that can help the patients dealing with the AIWS:

  • Eat more frequently

Generally, we take three big meals in a day. However, the patients who are dealing with this condition should eat 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day. It can reduce the hunger that might be the reason for headaches in lots of individuals.


  • Eat fresh meals

Always eat fresh foods that should include eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and poultry products. Avoiding frozen food can help in dealing with the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome condition.


  • Avoid certain foods

The patient should stay away from the foods that can set off headaches. A migraine is triggered by some foods that include aspartame sweetener, alcohol, aged cheeses, processed meats and monosodium glutamate.



Mandy is a fun-loving guy who is crazy about fitness and loves to travel. He is on a mission to make the world healthier.

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