Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a disorienting neurological condition that causes perceptual disturbances.

Another name for Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) is Todd’s syndrome. It is a rare condition that temporarily changes how the brain perceives things.

An English psychiatrist called John Todd named the syndrome in 1955. The name comes from Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in which the protagonist, Alice, experiences situations similar to those that occur with this condition.

AIWS can affect people at any age, but research suggests that it mainly occurs in children and adolescents.

In this article, we discuss what AIWS is, its symptoms and causes, and the treatment options available.

What is it?

Share on PinterestA person with AIWS may experience perceptual disturbances.

AIWS can affect the way a person perceives:

  • sight
  • hearing
  • touch
  • sensation
  • time

The most common visual distortions are micropsia, in which a person sees objects as smaller than they are, and teleopsia, where objects appear farther away than they are in reality.

There are three main categories of AIWS, which differ according to the type of perceptual disorder.

The categories are:

  • Type A, where disorders are somesthetic, or sensory
  • Type B, which affects visual senses
  • Type C, which is a mix of types A and B

The authors of a 2016 article state that type A follows the original definition of AIWS, which involves people feeling as though their body parts are changing size.

Type B causes more visual distortions of the surrounding environment.

A person with Type B AIWS may experience:

  • micropsia, where objects appear too small
  • macropsia, where objects appear too big
  • metamorphopsia, where aspects of shapes, such as height and width, appear inaccurate
  • pelopsia, where objects appear too close
  • teleopsia, where objects appear farther away than they are

A person with Type C AIWS can perceive both the image of their own body and that of other people or things around them to be changing.

According to a 2012 study, there are more cases of Type B in young individuals and more cases of Type C in adults.

Symptoms

The symptoms of AIWS depend on its type and the person it affects.

Read more here.

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