Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome (AIWS, named after the novel written by Lewis Carroll), also known as Todd's syndrome or lilliputian hallucinations, is a disorienting neurological condition that affects human perception.
IntroductionAlice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS or AWS) describes a set of symptoms, the most famous of which are:
- Alteration of body image: the sizes of parts of the body are perceived incorrectly.
- Alteration of visual perception: the sizes of external objects are perceived incorrectly.
Most reports are about children experiencing AIWS symptoms, though many people experience it in later life. Many people say they had AIWS symptoms as a child, but 'grew out' of them around their teens.
The most common time to experience AIWS symptoms is at night.
The most prominent and often most disturbing symptom is that of altered body image: the sufferer will find that they are confused as to the size and shape of parts of (or all of) their body. The parts usually mentioned are the head and hands; growth seems more usual than shrinkage. This phenomenon seems to have the medical term 'metamorphosis'.
The second major symptom is the distortion of visual perception. The eyes themselves are normal, but the sufferer 'sees' objects with the wrong size or shape and/or finds that perspective is incorrect. This can mean that people, cars, buildings, etc. look smaller or larger than they should be, or that distances look incorrect; for example a corridor may appear to be very long, or the ground may appear too close.
Other symptoms which have been referred to as part of AIWS include:
- Distorted time perception; time moving quickly or slowly.
- Distorted touch perception, e.g. a feeling that the ground is 'spongy' under the feet or that the sensation received from touching something is simply incorrect or unrecognised.
- Distorted sound perception.
- Classical migraine. Pain is not necessarily experienced.
- Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
- The Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause infectious mononucleosis, also known as 'glandular fever' or 'mono'.