alice in wonderland syndrome

Alice in wonderland is a syndrome that is increasingly becoming the subject of discussion for some time.

In the novel, Alice drinks up a potion and shrinks enough to enter through a rat hole where she witnesses tons of equally weird things. For the longest time, we believed it to be fiction, but this situation was medically recognized by British psychiatrist John Todd in 1955. It is also known as Todd’s Syndrome or Lilliputian hallucinations which is a psychological condition in which visual perception is altered. The study says that the world changes for people suffering from AIWS. They experience strange things as straight lines turning wavy, time seems to pass too slow or fast, colors change by themselves, small things look taller, and so on.

Signs, diagnosis and treatment of AIWS totally depend on the activities and experiences reported by the patient. There are many cases where people are unable to identify its symptoms. This leads to a lower number of patients registered for AIWS. It is believed that at least 10 percent of the population experience this effect at least once in a lifetime. In some cases, AIWS is found to be genetic, where generations have had faced the same issue during a particular period of their lives.

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Since the patient loses a sense of distance, time, height, volume, or dimensions, many people lose their life because of AIWS. Abigail Moss, the deputy editor of popular website, started to experience strange hallucinations at the age of five. She was diagnosed with AIWS after it was featured in an episode of the hit television series 'House'. With every attack, she felt like her body is growing rapidly and everything around her is shrinking in at the same rate. She said, ‘‘When I was younger, I would suffer from attacks almost every other day and that was quite scary. What made it worse was that nobody knew what it was.’’

Another patient wrote, “I would slowly begin to hear everything super loud and really sped up and it seemed like everything I did was faster. Everything and people's voices and noises got distorted, and sensations intensified. Everything sounded threatening, urgent and amplified. I felt disoriented and in a daze, I was out of step with the world. Almost like I was watching from behind a glass wall or something. There was a strange sensation that I was 'drawn back' and 'detached from reality'. But my own thoughts were too fast to understand and they were extremely loud, it sounded like a bunch of voices talking at once. My thoughts would in a way become autonomous, and I would not only hear one voice but usually about 5-6 voices all talking to me. They never made sense, it was almost like I was sharing my thoughts and consciousness with someone else. These episodes usually only lasted for like a max of 10 minutes.”


Symptoms of AIWS are quite diverse and vary from patient to patient. Generally, the patient loses the track of distance and heights, which is life-threatening in the absence of guidance and support.. Such people underestimate the values or overestimate them. There are registered cases where patients walk 200 meters in half an hour and jump from heights as their brain fails to give them a fair idea of measurements. Some doctors believe that hallucinations, time loss, and seizures are also part of AIWS; however, others argue that these symptoms are instead generated from the original condition that causes AIWS.

  • Micropsia (objects appear smaller than normal)
  • Teleopsia (objects appear further away than they actually are)
  • Macropsia (objects appear larger than normal)
  • Metamorphopsia (straight lines appear wavy, warped, or blank)
  • Pelopsia (objects appear nearer than they actually are)

This was the introduction to ‘Alice In Wonderland’ syndrome; I shall write more about it very soon. Please share it to your contacts and raise awareness about the same.

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