What is aiws

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Synonyms: Wonderland Syndrome, AIWS, AWS
English: Alice in wonderland syndrome, Alice in wonderland effect, Wonderlandsyndrome, Todd’s syndrome

1 definition

As Alice in Wonderland Syndrome a rare psychiatric symptom group consisting of derealization, depersonalization, division of body and psyche, changes in perception (metamorphopsia), feelings of floating, body schema disorders and changes in the sense of time. The term was introduced by the British psychiatrist John Todd in 1955 based on the book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll.

2 Occurrence and Background

AIWS mostly occurs in children, but can also occur in adults. If the symptoms occur in childhood, the symptoms usually disappear during puberty. The symptom group most often manifests itself at night, especially when falling asleep. Based on the symptoms, functional or organic changes in the temporal lobus are assumed. The syndrome is rarely described on its own; it usually occurs in association with other physical or psychological disorders. This includes:

3 symptoms

  • Loss of orientation (time, place and person)
  • Anxiety and panic
  • the patient has the feeling "crazy" to become
  • Disturbance of the body scheme (the own body appears incorrectly proportioned, most patients report an enlargement of their own head or extremities, reductions are rare)
  • Metamorphopsia
  • Hallucinations
  • Changed sense of time (time flies very quickly or is slow to pass)
  • acoustic perceptions (voices, music, sounds)
  • changed tactile perception (the floor under the feet feels spongy, hard objects appear as soft)
  • severe tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • dizziness
  • Headache
  • paleness
  • confusion
  • Children often exhibit greatly changed behavior, stop playing, suddenly withdraw, and become quiet and fearful.

4 therapy

There is no scientifically proven, effective therapy at the AIWS. The focus is on treating the underlying disease. In the case of migraines, appropriate prophylaxis should be carried out (e.g. with anticonvulsants, antidepressants (TCA: e.g. amitriptyline), beta blockers, calcium channel blockers). If the symptoms are severe and acute, the patient should be brought into familiar surroundings and reassured. If necessary, a sedative can also be administered at short notice. The chronic form of AIWS in children is considered difficult to treat, but the symptoms usually disappear by adulthood.