Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Our topic is on Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS), also known as Todd’s Syndrome. Sometimes when you have a migraine, things don’t look right. Colors change, straight lines turn wavy, time seems to change, and things shift. AWS is similar to that. AWS is an uncommon condition that gives you short-term episodes in which you have disorientation and distorted perception.

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A British psychiatrist, John Todd, first identified AWS in the 1950s. In the book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Alice drinks from a bottle that says drink me and turns the size small enough to walk through a small door. Then, later on, she eats something that says eat me and turns large enough to reach the key on the table. John Todd recognized that the things Alice goes through in the book were similar to what you go through during an AWS episode, so he named the condition Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

AWS has many different things you can experience during an episode. Episodes are different for everyone. Some common symptoms are migraines, size distortion, perceptual distortion, time distortion, sound distortion, loss of coordination. The odds of getting migraines are higher if you have AWS. Everyone who has AWS will have different episodes. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour and you can experience all or some of the symptoms. The episodes can happen multiple times a day for multiple days in a row, and then not have one at all for several weeks or months.

Doctors are still trying to figure out what the cause of AWS is, but they still haven’t found a cause. What they do know is that AWS is not a problem with your eyes. Most people think it is a problem with your eyes because of all the hallucinations. Doctors know that abnormal blood flow, caused by unusual electrical activity, flows to the sections of the brain that processes your visual perception. Even though doctors have figured this out, they still don’t know what causes the unusual electrical activity in the brain. If you have AWS, or some of your family members have it, it can increase your chances of getting infection, migraines, and genetics (a rare disease). Some possible causes that doctors have come up with are stress, brain tumor, use of hallucinogenic drugs, epilepsy, and having a stroke.

AWS is extremely undiagnosed but this is because no one really knows what to look for to diagnose it. They often diagnose AWS because of ruling out other options. People often don’t think much of their episodes because they are only a few seconds or minutes long. Doctors have no actual test they can use to diagnose AWS but some things that they can do to help them see if the patient has AWS is an MRI scan, blood scans, and electroencephalography(EEG). An EEG will measure the electrical activity in the brain.

Doctors are trying to find the cause for AWS, but at the same time, they are trying to find a cure. There is no treatment or cure for AWS yet, so the best way to handle your symptoms is to just rest and wait for them to pass. Another thing that can help is to treat your symptoms like any other person would. For example, if you normally get migraines during an episode, take painkillers, or whatever you would do normally if you didn’t have AWS. Over time AWS can get better.

Overall, the symptoms of AWS are disorienting, but they are not harmful to you. Doctors are trying to find a cure and a cause for AWS. Over time you will experience the symptoms less and less. AWS may be hard while you are having episodes, but in the end, it’s not the worst thing ever. If you treat AWS the right way, it could even go away entirely as you reach adulthood.

We chose this article because it is a rare condition of neurological ailment disorder that is not frequently known, and a British psychiatrist Dr. John Todd based it off, of a novel by the author Lewis Carroll, and some movies called Alice In Wonderland(AIWS). This originated in 1955. AIWS is relevant to the 5 Aspects of Wellness because you are mentally affected, you can’t sense out what’s reality and fantasy, it plays tricks on your brain by hallucinating your mind into reforming and reshaping body parts, or what’s adjacent or distant.

It’s not a fad, because it’s been around for 64 years, originated from 1955 to 2019, and doctors, psychiatrists, etc. try to find the cure to (AIWS) but have failed because they couldn’t find functional medical care. I think since doctors like to take on challenges, to medicines, and to cure AIWS will be with us for a long time until they find medical treatment. A Healthline source said the potential danger is “ This syndrome can affect multiple senses, including vision, touch, and hearing. You may also lose a sense of time. Time may seem to pass faster or slower than you think. You may feel larger or smaller than you actually are. You may also find that the room you’re in — or the surrounding furniture — seems to shift and feel further away or closer than it really is”, and that’s why many doctors, FDA’s, and Psychiatrist think (AIWS), is a danger to reality.

Personal things I learned about (AIWS) is, that doctors do not really know what’s causing it but are taking an estimated guess to say that brain tumors, migraines, epilepsy, psychoactive drugs, Epstein-Barr-virus disease are the genesis of (AIWS). That (AIWS) has no official cure, but doctors say to reduce these symptoms you can perform a migraine diet and/or migraine prophylaxis. Since (AIWS) syndrome is an infrequent, uncommon disease, most people are not contained with it yet, but statistics show that patients that have a history of migraines have a 15% chance of getting(AIWS). I did not know (AIWS), was such a mental disease in the world, that affects your brain into hallucination, or that (AIWS) can be a side “disease” to a disease/virus-like migraines, or brain tumor, etc. One thing that is surprising is that an inside source Helene Stapinski said “The New York Times, writer Helene Stapinski shared her personal experience with the syndrome. Stapinski recounts how her daughter while suffering from a bad headache, told her “Everything in the room looks really small.”

This realization opened a door to Stapinski’s own experiences with this rare syndrome, and the story caught fire on social media in the following days. Studies show that out of the 48 people who had (AIWS) later on ensued migraines and headaches that weren’t in their heredity. BioMed Research International said “In 1952, Lippman firstly described several patients experiencing sensations of becoming remarkably tall or short during attacks of migraines. Lately, Coleman found the same symptoms in a young patient with schizophrenia, who referred that she felt just like Alice in Wonderland, because of her sensation of shrinking and enlarging.”

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Alice In Wonderland Syndrome. (2019, May 08). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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