What is Alice In Wonderland Syndrome (AWS)? 

Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AWS) is a rare condition.,that causes temporary episodes of distorted perception and disorientation. 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.

These episodes aren’t the result of a problem with your eyes or a hallucination. They’re caused by changes in how your brain perceives the environment you’re in and how your body looks.

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.

AWS primarily affectsTrusted Source children and young adults. Most people grow out the disordered perceptions as they age, but it’s still possible to experience this in adulthood.

AWS is also known as Todd’s syndrome. That’s because it was first identified in the 1950s by Dr. John Todd, a British psychiatrist. He noted that the symptoms and recorded anecdotes of this syndrome closely resembled episodes that the character Alice Liddell experienced in Lewis Carroll’s novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. ”

How does AWS present?

AWS episodes are different for each person. What you experience may vary from one episode to the next as well. A typical episode lasts a few minutes. Some can last up to half an hour.

During that time, you may experience one or more of these commonTrusted Source symptoms:


People who experience AWS are more likely to experience migraines. Some researchers and doctors believe AWS is actually an aura. This is an early sensory indication of a migraine. Others believe AWS may be a rare subtype of migraine.

Size distortion

Micropsia is the sensation that your body or objects around you are growing smaller. Macropsia is the sensation that your body or objects around you are growing larger. Both are common experiences during an episode of AWS.

Perceptual distortion

If you feel that objects near you are growing larger or that they’re closer to you than they really are, you’re experiencing pelopsia. The opposite of that is teleopsia. It’s the sensation that objects are getting smaller or farther away from you than they really are.

Time distortion

Some people with AWS lose their sense of time. They may feel time is moving faster or slower than it really is.

Sound distortion

Every sound, even typically quiet sounds, seems loud and intrusive.

Loss of limb control or loss of coordination

This symptom occurs when muscles feel as if they’re acting involuntarily. In other words, you may feel as though you’re not controlling your limbs. Likewise, the altered sense of reality can affect how you move or walk. You may feel uncoordinated or have difficulty moving about as you normally would.

What causes AWS?

It’s not clear what causes AWS, but doctors are trying to better understand it. They do know that AWS isn’t a problem with your eyes, a hallucination, or a mental or neurological illness.

Researchers believe unusual electrical activity in the brain causes abnormal blood flow to the parts of the brain that process your environment and experience visual perception. This unusual electrical activity may be the result of several causes.

One study found that 33 percent of people who experienced AWS had infections. Both head trauma and migraines were tied to 6 percent of AWS episodes. But more than half of AWS cases had no known cause.

Although more research is needed, migraine is considered the leading cause for AWS in adults. Infection is considered the primary cause for AWS in children.

Other possible causes include:


-cough medicine

-use of hallucinogenic drugs



-brain tumor