Alice in Wonderland
syndrome is a mental condition in which the subject perceives their body as either much larger or much smaller than normal. If the sufferer feels their their body is larger than normal, they may describe their surroundings as looking like toys or models. If the sufferer feels that they are smaller than normal, this can be just as disconcerting, as objects seem to tower, and they feel themselves to have shrunk
. It's important to note that the condition doesn't actually affect
one's sight, per se
, just the way one perceives the size of their body
in relation to the rest of the world. The feeling will persist even with eyes closed.
The condition is most commonly reported by patients also suffering from classical migraines or brain tumor. It is also sometimes reported by young children with no other medical problems.
In addition to the distortion of size perception, patients also report other kinds of perceptual disconnection:
- feeling as if walking doesn't get them anywhere, as if they were walking on a treadmill
- the perception that only parts of their body are larger/smaller than normal
- the feeling of walking on sponges
- lingering touch sensation, i.e. after you've touched something, you continue to feel it after you've stopped touching it. Touch sensation hallucinations can also occur.
- lingering sound sensation, i.e. you continue hearing something after the noise has stopped
- anxiety (no kidding!)
- loss of limb control and general discoordination, usually because of distorted perceptions of where one's body is in relation to surroundings
- agnosia / memory loss (though this is thought to be more of a side-effect: If you're having to think really hard about every movement, it's hard to pay attention to anything else and thus hard to remember things.)
There is no treatment for AIWS itself, the strategy is to treat the migraine or other brain disorder and hope that helps.