Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS) Symptoms and Care


Unless you’ve been living under a rock the majority of your life, you’ve heard of the classic novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  In this story, Objects in Alice’s view often seem larger or smaller than they would normally appear in reality.  Visual distortions play an important role in this story.  AWS or Alice in Wonderland Syndrome received its name due to the visual distortions experienced by person’s diagnosed with it.  Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is also known as Todd’s disease.

“Alice in Wonderland syndrome is one of the most fascinating neurological symptoms described in the medical literature. Estimated to occur among about 10-20% of the population, Alice in Wonderland syndrome is an infrequent event that is believed to occur only a few times throughout the lives of most affected individuals. It is an experience that people can describe with varying levels of detail, the consistent feature being a fleeting sense of dystrophism without associated long-term or short-term disability”.


This syndrome causes infrequent visual distortions which may appear like objects around the person with the syndrome are growing or decreasing in size right in front of their eyes. Some people will also experience a time distortion where they lose their sense of time for brief periods.  People with this disorder are also more prone to getting migraines.  Every sound will seem overly loud and intrusive.

What Causes AWS?

Doctors are still trying to better understand it.  They’re not quite certain at this point what it is specifically that causes AWS. There is a suspicion that infections could play a roll in triggering it. Though more research is needed, doctors believe that migraines are most likely the cause of AWS.


AWS isn’t harmful and there’s no real treatment for it at this time.  Since there’s no harm associated with it, it’s a good idea to just rest and allow the symptoms to pass when they occur. Some doctors think that treating migraines before they start could help prevent future AWS episodes.

This type of situation can present additional troubles for people that are already living with other conditions such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, Asthma, Autism, and more.  To be safe, it’s a good idea for any child with these conditions and AWS to wear a medical alert bracelet which indicates their condition in case an emergency situation occurs.

AWS alice in wonderland syndrome medical ID bracelet