a strange disorder disabling in everyday life

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Feeling one’s limbs grow disproportionately, seeing objects smaller or larger than they really are… Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland” gave its name to an astonishing syndrome. We tell you everything you need to know about SAPM.

Whether reading Lewis Carroll’s novel or watching its adaptations by the Walt Disney firm, Alice in Wonderland has been an integral part of the childhoods of many generations since its initial release in 1869. But if for some, it can be tempting to jump down the white rabbit hole to join the twisted and fantastical world of their favorite tale, for others it looks a little too much like their reality. Visual hallucinations, abnormal perception of the body or objects around you, distortions of space and time… Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AMS) is an underrecognized and particularly disturbing neurological disorder for sufferers.

These live experiences quite similar to the little girl in Carroll’s novel. The most common symptom is feeling your head or hands grow disproportionately large. Other manifestations of body deformities are also possible. In 2019, a 56-year-old patient, for example, went to the emergency room indicating feel like a horn is growing on your forehead, like a unicorn, during his migraine attacks. These distortions can also affect the outside world. Patients may see objects larger, smaller, closer or further away than they really are, but also have an altered perception of their shapes. In the vast majority of cases, the perception of time is also impacted.

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It is not yet known to explain what causes these symptoms.

The only constant common point between all the patients is violent migraines. Lewis Carrol was himself reputed to suffer from chronic headaches, leading some scholars to believe that he may have written Alice in Wonderland based on his experience with the then unknown SAPM. SAPM was first described in 1955, yet even today it is not possible to fully explain what causes these altered perceptions.

All ages can be affected, but the syndrome has mainly been observed alongside other disorders, mainly migraine and epilepsy. It has also been observed in patients who have consumed LSD, psychotropic drugs, suffering from a brain tumor or even in the event of infection by the Epstein-Barr virus. All these different pathologies could then create disturbances in the region of the brain that receives information from the surface of the body. There is no actual treatment for SAPM, the solution is to cure the disorder that is causing the original disturbances. Although it is impressive to live with, Alice in Wonderland syndrome is not dangerous to your health and resolves on its own once the cause has been treated.

Society/Sex/Psycho Journalist

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