Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Symptoms, Cause and Treatment

Have you ever wondered what went through the head of the person who created the story of Alice in Wonderland? Did you know that it is the graphic and visual representation of a disease? Had you suspected that the author might have a syndrome or a disorder to be able to create his work?

Keep reading Psychology and we will see the symptoms, causes and treatments of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

What is Alice in Wonderland syndrome

The micropsia or Alice syndrome in Wonderland is a psychological disorder that involves the distortion of visual perception. This affects the way you perceive yourself and other objects as well. The micropsy would purely be to perceive the objects in a smaller way than they really are.

There are also other types of Alice in Wonderland syndrome such as macropsia - seeing objects larger than they really are -, pelopsia - seeing objects closer than they are - and telopsia - objects are perceived more far-. Furthermore, the notion of time is also lost and distortions can also occur in the body itself, that is, it can be perceived that the body itself increases or decreases in size.

Symptoms of micropsy

The syndrome does not only affect visual perception. Distortion about the size of objects is also altered through the sense of touch and hearing . On the other hand, the image of one's own body would also be distorted. Other fairly common symptoms are:

  • Migraines
  • Sickness.
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation.
  • Microsomatognosia: it is perceived that parts of the body itself or this as a whole are shrinking.
  • Macrosomatognosia: The body or parts of it are believed to be increasing in size.
  • Losing the sense of time, that is, there is no good time perspective so it is sometimes perceived that time passes faster than it actually is or slower.
  • High consumption of tyramine.

As a general rule, there is an awareness of hallucinations, so it would not enter into the diagnosis of psychosis.

How is the diagnosis of Alice in Wonderland syndrome made? To be diagnosed with this disease, other disorders such as psychosis must be ruled out. However, there are no specific criteria, so it is often misdiagnosed.

Causes of Alice in Wonderland syndrome

Why does Alice in Wonderland syndrome happen? It is believed that there is a genetic component and that it is also related to migraines , brain tumors or also the consumption of different psychoactive drugs. In this article we explain the effects of drugs on the nervous system . Lack of sleep can also cause it. Other possible causes are infected by the Epstein-Barr virus , have mononucleoisis and d isminuciĆ³n of blood flow in various regions of the cerebral cortex, which can be caused by diseases such as encephalitis or epilepsy.

Treatment of micropsy

How is Alice in Wonderland syndrome cured? There is no established treatment although in many cases Alice in Wonderland syndrome resolves on its own with time. Some methods include treating a migraine or establishing a low tyramine diet.

Different types of medications are often used such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, or beta blockers. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has occasionally been used. Correct sleep habits are also insisted upon.

Regarding the more psychological treatment approach, the acceptance of the problem is worked on and action guidelines are established for the moment when the distortions appear. It is also useful to join support groups in order to feel more accompanied and understood.

Origin of the Alice in Wonderland syndrome: the case of Lewis Cartell

The name of the syndrome is due to the fact that it is believed that the author of the work, Lewis Carroll , suffered from this disease, which is why he could have had inspiration for his work.

The experiences that Alicia would have could be experiences of the author himself, who is also known to have a migraine , one of the possible causes of the syndrome. However, it is believed that in the author's case, the syndrome could also have been caused by the consumption of a hallucinogenic fungus, since in his diaries the episodes sometimes anticipated the attack of migraines. In this article we talk about hallucinogenic drugs.

If we realize it, it is characterized by alterations in Alice's conception of her own body and of reality. In turn, the protagonist experiences the impression of not knowing well what is happening around her in terms of time and even about her own personality.

there was also a drawing of an elf with the left half of its face and the upper left limb missing. This seems to support the hypothesis that the onset of her illness occurred before she began writing Alice in Wonderland, so it is highly likely that the work was the description of several of her episodes.

On the other hand, the syndrome is quite common in children , so it would not be surprising if the author suffered from the disease since childhood. Between 1955 and 2015, 169 cases have been reported and the majority were less than or equal to eighteen years of age.